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Hurricane Fiona Strikes the Caribbean

Michael reports on the effects of Hurricane Fiona just over a year after Somerset County was hit by Hurricane Ida.

On September 14th, the otherwise quiet 2022 Atlantic hurricane season ramped up with the formation of Hurricane Fiona, a Category 4 hurricane that formed in the Atlantic Ocean, and ravaged the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, and eventually Eastern Canada leaving behind flooding, millions of dollars in property damage, and 27 deaths to the affected areas.

On September 12th, the National Hurricane Center began monitoring an unusual series of waves in the central Atlantic Ocean, which would eventually grow into Hurricane Fiona on the 14th. Fiona’s first target would be the French island of Guadeloupe. Fiona became the second wettest hurricane in Guadeloupe’s history, and sadly brought with it a casualty to the island.

Hurricane Fiona’s greatest damage would come in Puerto Rico, where Fiona became the strongest hurricane to hit the island since Hurricane Maria in 2017. Hurricane Fiona had devastating effects on the island, leaving a million without water, and almost half a million without electricity. The storm left behind a maximum of 32 inches of rain on the ground in the municipality of Ponce, and is currently the second costliest hurricane in the island’s history, only after Maria. The island’s agriculture was largely destroyed due to the hurricane and subsequent landslides, with the island’s Secretary of Agriculture Ramon Gonzalez Beiro predicting a $100 million loss for Puerto Rico’s crops. The bulk of the hurricane’s casualties unfortunately took place in Puerto Rico, killing 25 people on the island.

After accelerating north across the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Fiona’s final destination was Eastern Canada, where Fiona became the strongest hurricane to ever strike the shores of Canada. The storm left behind mass power outages, especially the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where 80-95% of inhabitants were left without power. In Canada, many natural landmarks in the province of Prince Edward Island were affected by the hurricane, with the Teacup Rock formation and dune system of the island being destroyed and heavily eroded respectively. Three hurricane-caused deaths were reported in Canada.

Hurricane Fiona and its ramifications will be felt for months to come, leaving behind at least $21 billion dollars in damage and 31 deaths to the affected regions. Fortunately, thanks to volunteers from around the world, the citizens of Puerto Rico and other affected regions in the Caribbean have received food, water, generators, and temporary shelter in an effort to get the region back on track.

If you would like to learn more about helping the victims of natural disasters, like Hurricane Fiona, contact the American Red Cross for details.

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