Hurricane Fiona on Wednesday morning broke its own record as the strongest storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, reaching Category 4 intensity as it slowly moved away from islands it battered, but forecasters are now tracking several more systems that could pose additional threats in the coming days.
Fiona’s maximum sustained winds hit 130 mph early Wednesday, with additional strengthening expected through Wednesday night.
The major hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos islands over the past few days, but it is expected to remain out to sea through Friday.
Fiona is forecast to transition to an extratropical cyclone by Saturday but could bring hurricane-force winds to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and other Canadian maritime areas as it pushes through the region this weekend.
Another named storm—Tropical Storm Gaston—formed Tuesday over the north central Atlantic, but the system is expected to meander over the area during the next few days with little strengthening, posing no imminent threat to land.
Forecasters are also tracking three disturbances that could organize into tropical storms over the coming days—one just east of the Windward Islands, one over the east central Atlantic and another in western Africa.
The Windward Islands system has a 90% chance of developing as it moves into the Caribbean Sea, while the African system has a 50% chance of organizing over the next five days as it skirts the west African coast and the central Atlantic disturbance has a 20 % chance of forming if it stays over open waters, according to the National Hurricane Center.
What To Watch For
Swells from Hurricane Fiona are expected to produce “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” during the next day or two.
Much of Puerto Rico remained without power or running water Wednesday morning, nearly three full days after Fiona made landfall there as a Category 1 storm. At least three deaths have been reported as a result of the storm—two in Puerto Rico and one other in Guadeloupe, a French territory. Fiona hit Puerto Rico nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria hit the island, in what became one of the worst natural disasters in US history. Democratic lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) are urging the passage of a major boost in federal funding to go towards the island’s recovery.
The Atlantic basin has become extremely active over the past week after a historically slow start to the season. Not a single named storm developed between July 3 and September 1.
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