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Most of Puerto Rico is still without power as Fiona reaches the Dominican Republic

A home is submerged in floodwaters caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on Sunday.
Updated September 19, 2022 at 12:16 PM ET

Hurricane Fiona is nearing the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Monday after causing flash flooding, mudslides and an island-wide blackout in Puerto Rico.

As of 11 a.m. ET on Monday , the category 1 hurricane was 10 miles southeast of Samaná, a coastal town in the northeast Dominican Republic, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and was moving northwest at 8 mph. The storm is forecast to travel near or east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.

In Puerto Rico, the extent of the damage is still unclear as the island continues to see heavy rainfall and massive flooding. But 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.

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.

In a news conference on Sunday evening, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said he could not give an estimate of when power might be fully up and running. However, he added it would be a "matter of days," and not months, to restore the grid — referring to the drawn-out power restoration after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Hurricane Fiona made landfall two days before the five year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico as a category 4 storm that killed about 3,000 people and nearly destroyed the island's electricity system.

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.

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