Tue, 03 Oct 2023

US territory plunged into darkness

20 Sep 2022, 00:48 GMT+10

As Hurricane Fiona approached, Puerto Rico was hit by an island-wide blackout which will take "several days" to fix

The entire island of Puerto Rico lost power on Sunday, as it braced itself for the arrival of the tropical storm Hurricane Fiona. Power outages were already affecting the unincorporated US territory on Saturday, with over 500,000 residents affected. 

After midday on Sunday, PowerOutage.US showed all 1.4 million customers tracked by the service had their power knocked out.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi said the total blackout was caused by damage done by Hurricane Fiona and LUMA Energy, which operates the island's electricity grid, said it "could take several days" to restore service.

The hurricane made a landfall on Puerto Rico later in the day, ripping through the island, causing flash flooding and otherwise ravaging the territory.

"These rains will produce life-threatening and catastrophic flash and urban flooding across Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic, along with mudslides and landslides in areas of higher terrain," the US National Hurricane Center warned.

Hurricane Fiona was a Category 1 storm when it approached Puerto Rico, but is forecast to grow to Category 3 as it travels north from the Dominican Republic to the Turks and Caicos islands and further to the Bahamas, which it may reach late on Monday or early Thursday.

Puerto Rico faced the calamity two days before the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017.

The island's power grid experienced another massive outage in April, when some one million consumers went without electricity after a fire at the Costa Sur generation plant, one of its four major generation facilities.

READ MORE: US territory hit by massive power outage

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