18 Sep (News) — All of Puerto Rico was without power Sunday as Hurricane Fiona hit the island, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.
said Pierluisi a statement at 1:44 p.m. EST that utility companies Luma and AEE had both reported that Puerto Rico’s power supply was down due to the hurricane.
“The protocols have been activated according to the plans to deal with this situation,” Pierluisi said. “Both Luma and [Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority] The staff is active and ready to respond to the situation as soon as conditions allow.”
Approximately 1,468,223 customers were without power as PowerOutage.us showed no activity on the island.
Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico at 3:35 p.m. EST as a Category 1 hurricane, carrying maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour.
Meteorologists at AccuWeather expect Fiona to discharge several feet of rain across the country, which will cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, and Pierluisi warned in a news conference on Sunday that the storm “will cover our entire island.”
At least one death has already been reported in Basse-Terre, in the French territory of Guadeloupe, according to the vice-president of the territory’s environmental agency.
President Joe Biden approved a declaration of a state of emergency for Puerto Rico on Sunday morning. This frees up federal funds, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for emergency response and disaster relief.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s power grid, leaving many without power for months.
Abner Gomez, director of public safety and crisis management at LUMA Energy, which operates Puerto Rico’s power grid, said the utility plans to repair and restore power with the help of local government agencies
“This is not Maria, this hurricane will not be Maria,” Gomez said.