Hurricane Fiona left at least one dead and millions without power in Puerto Rico, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said Monday afternoon, warning that the storm, which poured more than 30 inches of rain in some areas, will continue to soak the island the rest of the day.
“The heavy rains have caused the greatest havoc in our towns. In some of our towns the concentration of water was higher than that of Hurricane Maria,” Pierluisi said at a news conference Monday, referring to the deadly Category 4 hurricane that devastated the island in 2017.
“The damages to the infrastructure, to the urban centers and to residences have been catastrophic,” he said, adding that the country was still experiencing heavy rains and suffering tropical storm conditions, even after the main part of the storm moved away to the Dominican Republic.
Several bridges were severally damaged and some were swept away by flooded rivers, while a number of country roads were also badly damaged by the heavy rains, he said.
Lee-ann Ingles-Serrano, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Juan, told the Miami Herald that nearly the entire island is under a flash flood warning as of Monday morning, with significant rainfall expected Monday morning and afternoon, worsening flooding in the hardest hit parts of the island in the south.
That area can expect to see another four to six inches of rain, she said.
“We are going to have a more severe flooding problem in areas that are flooded. And areas that are not flooded could flood,” she said.
Between Saturday afternoon and Monday, the southeast of the island had received between 15 and 25 inches of rain. The rest of the island got between 5 and 12 inches.
Several rivers have also overflowed their banks, flooding the communities around them.
Nearly every municipality in the southeast, south, and interior of the island are reporting flooding. Ingles-Serrano said that the mountain town of Cayey and the coastal towns of Guayama and Salinas were among the most affected.