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Battered by Hurricane Fiona, this is what a blackout looks like across Puerto Rico

A home is submerged in floodwaters caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on Sunday.
Stephanie Rojas
/
AP
A home is submerged in floodwaters caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on Sunday.

Updated September 19, 2022 at 6:42 PM ET

Hurricane Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic on Monday morning, as millions in Puerto Rico face flash flooding, mudslides and an island-wide blackout.

The National Hurricane Center warned that the Category 1 hurricane is moving into the Atlantic and is likely to strengthen. Fiona, which is traveling with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, is forecast to travel near or east of the Turks and Caicos Islands as early as Monday night.

In Puerto Rico, the full extent of the damage is still unclear as the storm has unleashed torrential rains across much of the island, causing massive flooding and landslides. Island officials have said that some roads, bridges and other infrastructure have been damaged or washed away as a result of the downpour.

Most of the island also remains without power, according to utility companies' reports tracked by PowerOutage.us. More than 775,000 residents also have no access to clean water.

The latest hurricane to batter the U.S. territory, Fiona struck two days before the fifth anniversary of Maria, the devastating storm that killed more than 3,000 people and nearly destroyed the island's electricity system.

On Monday, Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi called the damages to the island's housing and fragile infrastructure from the Category 1 storm "catastrophic."

"In many areas, flooding is worse than what we saw during Hurricane Maria," Pierluisi said during a press briefing.

"So far we've gotten about 30 inches of rain, even in areas where they had never experienced flooding," he added.

Heavy rainfall and life-threatening flooding risks are expected to last through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. The saturation "will also continue to trigger mudslides and rockfall in areas of steep terrain."

Fiona's powerful winds and the subsequent deluge of rainfall knocked out the island's power grid, throwing the island into a blackout. Officials have said it will take several days to fully restore service to over a million residents.

Shortly after the hurricane struck on Sunday, Pierluisi said it would be a "matter of days," and not months, to fully restore the grid — referring to the drawn-out power restoration after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Since then, the island's power crews were able to restore electricity to about 100,000 customers living in the northeast region near the capital San Juan, Luma Energy, the island's private electric utility, wrote on Facebook.

President Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday, authorizing the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

Adrian Florido contributed reporting.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A worker cuts an electricity pole that was downed by Hurricane Fiona as it blocks a road in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday.
Stephanie Rojas / AP
/
AP
A worker cuts an electricity pole that was downed by Hurricane Fiona as it blocks a road in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sunday.
Nelson Cirino's home stands with its roof torn off by the winds of Hurricane Fiona in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday.
Alejandro Granadillo / AP
/
AP
Nelson Cirino's home stands with its roof torn off by the winds of Hurricane Fiona in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Sunday.
A road is blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Stephanie Rojas / AP
/
AP
A road is blocked by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
A worker of the Loiza municipality calls on residents to evacuate due to imminent flooding due to the rains of Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico.
Alejandro Granadillo / AP
/
AP
A worker of the Loiza municipality calls on residents to evacuate due to imminent flooding due to the rains of Hurricane Fiona, in Loiza, Puerto Rico.
A flooded road is seen during the passage of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico.
Melvin Pereira / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
A flooded road is seen during the passage of hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico.
A man stands near a flooded road during the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico.
Melvin Pereira / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
A man stands near a flooded road during the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Villa Blanca, Puerto Rico.
People clean debris from a road after a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Stephanie Rojas / AP
/
AP
People clean debris from a road after a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
A river swollen with rain caused by Hurricane Fiona speeds through Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Stephanie Rojas / AP
/
AP
A river swollen with rain caused by Hurricane Fiona speeds through Cayey, Puerto Rico.
A road is flooded by the rains of Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Stephanie Rojas / AP
/
AP
A road is flooded by the rains of Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.