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Fiona nears Dominican Republic after pounding Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Tropical Weather
Stephanie Rojas/AP
/
AP
A man walks on a road flooded by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Stephanie Rojas)

HAVANA (AP) — Hurricane Fiona bore down on the Dominican Republic Monday after knocking out the power grid and unleashing floods and landslides in Puerto Rico, where the governor said the damage was “catastrophic.”

No deaths have been reported, but authorities in the U.S. territory said it was too early to estimate the damage from a storm that was still forecast to unleash torrential rain across Puerto Rico on Monday.

Up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) was forecast for Puerto Rico’s eastern and southern regions.

“It’s important people understand that this is not over,” said Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

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He said flooding has reached “historic levels,” with authorities evacuating or rescuing hundreds of people across the island.

“The damages that we are seeing are catastrophic,” said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi.

Brown water rushed through streets, into homes and even consumed a runway airport in southern Puerto Rico.

Fiona also ripped up asphalt from roads and washed away a bridge in the central mountain town of Utuado that police say was installed by the National Guard after Hurricane Maria hit in 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

The storm also ripped off the roofs of several homes, including that of Nelson Cirino in the northern coastal town of Loiza.