Hurricane Fiona drenches Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. Bermuda on alert

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Hurricane Fiona has impacted Puerto Rico heavily with the island experiencing a historic rainfall event, as two-foot of rains are forecast from the storm, with locally maximum amounts of up to 30 inches warned.

The storm is largely causing impacts from rain rather than winds, but further ahead in the forecast hurricane Fiona could be a threat to Bermuda, so we’d advise our insurance, reinsurance and ILS market contacts to stay alert.

Bermuda’s Ministry of National Security has said that “Fiona could have an impact on Bermuda later this week.”

Fiona is expected to strengthen into a large and powerful Category 3 or higher hurricane by the time it nears Bermuda, but as ever the path will be critical for how significant any impacts might be, or whether the storm passes offshore of the island.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico lost all power as hurricane Fiona impacted it late on Sunday with sustained winds of 85 mph and higher gusts.

Power has been restored to some of the island now, but it’s expected it could be days before the entire population has electricity back again.

The winds aren’t the major driver of human impacts though, as Puerto Rico is experiencing significant flooding and water driven damage, all of which threatens to set-back the still ongoing recovery from 2017’s Maria wind impacts.

Hurricane Fiona has now passed Puerto Rico and the eye has made landfall in the Dominican Republic, but Puerto Rico is still being lashed by rain bands and the flooding is expected to be an ongoing problem.

For the Dominican Republic, hurricane Fiona currently has sustained winds of 90 mph having strengthened a little, with gusts higher at over 100 mph.

The NHC warns of over 12 inches of rain for the Dominican Republic, raising the possibility of severe flooding and landslides. But given Puerto Rico’s warned 30 inches, it’s possible the rain impacts are more significant than currently anticipated.

“Life-threatening and catastrophic flash and urban flooding,” are expected, the NHC explained.

A storm surge of 3 to 5 feet is also forecast for the country.

You can see the NHC forecast cone for hurricane Fiona below:

Tropical storm Fiona forecast path and cone

The Turks and Caicos Islands are also in Fiona’s path and will at the least feel the effects of strong winds and rains, but should the path continue to adjust and a more direct impact from the eye occur, then these islands could feel quite severe impacts, especially with Fiona now appearing to strengthen a little more.

Hurricane Fiona finally has more model consensus for its future, with the storm expected to track north into the Atlantic and so the threat to the United States seaboard now greatly diminished.

There is much more certainty in the turn to the north and hurricane Fiona is expected to strengthen into a major hurricane as it moves through the Atlantic.

The below intensity model output is from TropicalTidbits.com:

Tropical storm Fiona forecast intensity

Hurricane Fiona is expected to pass relatively near to Bermuda, so we’d urge our insurance, reinsurance and ILS market contacts on the island to closely watch the storm path over the next few days.

By the time Fiona nears Bermuda it will be a powerful hurricane, so it is to be hoped the track stays offshore and Bermuda is spared any close or direct impacts.

Further north, the models show hurricane Fiona turning extratropical and then curving west to impact far northeastern Canada as a still large and powerful storm, so interests there should also monitor Fiona’s progress over the next few days.

Track the 2022 Atlantic tropical storm and hurricane season on our dedicated page and we’ll update you as new information emerges.

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