Hurricane Fiona strengthened to a Category 3 storm Tuesday after battering Puerto Rico and knocking out most of its power, the latest hurricane to devastate the island as it continued to strengthen on its way north through the Caribbean.
Fiona has lashed Puerto Rico in recent days with downpours and flash floods, causing catastrophic damage to homes, infrastructure and the island’s power grid. About 60% of the island had no water service on Tuesday morning while nearly 1.2 million customers, representing most of the island, remained without power, officials said.
The storm was blamed for the deaths of two people: a 58-year-old man who fell into a river and a man who ignited a fire while he was trying to fill his generator with gasoline, said Sheila Anglero, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s governor.
Fiona unleashed the damage in Puerto Rico before forecasters upgraded it on Tuesday morning to a Category 3 storm, making it the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. The storm, which had maximum sustained winds of nearly 115 miles an hour, was expected to strengthen to a Category 4 storm within the next three days, forecasters said.
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