Puerto Ricans Now Face Heat Wave After Days Without Power and Water

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Downed power lines on road PR-743 in Cayey as the island awoke to a general power outage on September 19, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Downed power lines on road PR-743 in Cayey as the island awoke to a general power outage on September 19, 2022 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Photo: Jose Jimenez (Getty Images)

Hurricane Fiona has caused widespread damage across Puerto Rico, and now the island is under a heat advisory. Most residents currently do not have electricity or running water.

“There is a heat advisory in effect for all the north central to the northwest, and western Puerto Rico. Heat Indices between 105-109 degrees are expected between 10 AM- 4PM,” the National Weather Service (NWS) said in an alert.

The higher temperatures are around the northern coast, where municipalities will experience a heat index above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius). Some areas in central Puerto Rico have been spared, but other municipalities along the Southern coast will experience a heat index over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius). A tweet from NWS San Juan advised people in the alert area to “stay hydrated” and to “limit outdoor activity.”

All great advice, but that isn’t going to be easy for most Puerto Ricans. As of this writing, more than 1 million out of 1.4 million customers have not had their power restored, according to PowerOutage.us. No electricity means that there is no power to pump water into homes or to work filtration systems. This has left many Puerto Ricans without running water, NPR reported. Vulnerable Puerto Ricans will not be able to turn on fans or air conditioning to deal with the heat, either.

The storm pummeled the Caribbean on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria. The 2017 hurricane shut down the island’s grid, causing the longest power outage in U.S. history. And even after Fiona moved on to the Dominican Republic earlier this week, Puerto Rico remained under a tropical storm warning. Areas across the southern and western parts of the island were still under flash flood warnings until Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Fiona has now grown into a category 4 storm and is expected to pass Bermuda later this week. It may not hit the continental U.S. and is expected to eventually reach Nova Scotia, Canada.





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