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The memory is all too recent. Just five years ago, Hurricane Maria caused unparalleled destruction in Puerto Rico. It is considered the worst natural disaster in the island’s recorded history.

The deadliest storm of the very active 2017 Atlantic hurricane season – not to mention of the century so far – formed in mid-September and did not die out until 16 days later. In the meantime, it was responsible for more than 3,000 deaths and over $90 billion in damages   

The Category 5 hurricane had winds of 175 miles per hour and also hammered Dominica and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Also affected were the Dominican Republic, Haiti, The Bahamas, the southeastern U.S. and the mid-Atlantic states. To this day, some 3,000 homes in Puerto Rico are still covered by blue tarps.

Puerto Rico Suffers Island-Wide Outage

What recently brought back the terrible memory of those days to Puerto Rico residents was Hurricane Fiona. The deadly Category 1 storm knocked power out all across the island.

Overwhelming flooding and mudslides caused by up to 30 inches of rain left much of Puerto Rico in ruins. At least two deaths were reported. One man was swept away by a river and another was burned to death in a gas generator accident.  

In addition, more than 100,000 homes and businesses had no running water. Many evacuated to shelters. While flying home from Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, President Joe Biden promised support for the U.S. territory.

Even two days after Fiona made landfall, the National Weather Service warned of “catastrophic and life-threatening flash, urban and moderate to major river flooding, as well as mudslides.” People were told to move to higher ground.

A temporary metal bridge that connected the cities of Ponce and Arecibo was built over the Guaonica River after Hurricane Maria. But it was swept away in the Fiona floodwaters. Rain continued on the island – home to 3.2 million people – well after the eye of the hurricane spun away. 

Dominican Republic Next in Line

After pummeling Puerto Rico, Fiona made landfall in the Dominican Republic. Flooding left 1 million people without running water. Dozens of homes were destroyed and at least one death was reported. 

Ports and beaches were closed, and people were told not to go to work. Several highways were blocked and at least four airports were closed. Hundreds of people were rescued by National Guard troops.

Fiona then grew in strength as it moved north in the Atlantic Ocean. It became the first major hurricane (Category 3) of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, with wind speeds of 115 mph. 

Next in its path was Grand Turk Island and the Caicos Islands. Residents there were urged to shelter in place. Winds of nearly 125 mph battered the islands.

Taking Aim on Bermuda & Canada

Island-wide power outages were reported. Including on Grand Turk, South Caicos, Middle Caicos and North Caicos. Residents were told that “life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions” would exist and that water levels would rise significantly.

After leaving that area, Fiona strengthened to a Category 4 storm. It began turning slowly in a northeast direction, putting it in a position to affect Bermuda with high winds, storm surge, coastal flooding and possibly river flooding.

And that’s exactly what happened. Winds of 125 mph battered the island, along with heavy rains. Fortunately, Bermuda avoided a direct hit, and the storm became a Category 3 hurricane as it left the area. 

Fiona then became one of the most intense storms on record to slam into Atlantic Canada. As flooding and hurricane-force wind gusts struck Prince Edward Island, one dispatcher said it was “like nothing we’ve ever seen.” Also affected were Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Entire homes were washed into the ocean and countless trees and power lines were downed due to the record-setting rainfall and winds. Estimates are that the trail of destruction will take months to repair. A local mayor called conditions “a complete war zone.”   

Another Slow Recovery Ahead

Recovery will be slow for the people of Puerto Rico. Governor Pedro Pierluisi said, “By the time the (hurricane) tail left Puerto Rico, we had roughly 36 inches of rain. That’s a huge amount of rain.”

Restoring clean drinking water to the island’s residents will also take time. Filtration plants were impacted by the flooding and rain.

Hit particularly hard were the center, south and southeast regions of Puerto Rico. Among the challenges facing cleanup crews are mudslides that block access to parts of the power grid.

In addition, floodwaters made it very difficult for workers to reach the more remote areas, which need supplies. Some families were stranded due to collapsing bridges.

Blackouts Mean Cooking Without Electricity

Whether it’s a hurricane or other storm, the common denominator is almost always power outages.

Sometimes folks get lucky and the blackouts only last a few hours. But often with extreme weather, the outages go on for days.

There may come a time in the near future when you’ll need to cook food without electricity. Something that could come in very handy is the Campfire Cooking Kit from 4Patriots.

This all-in-one cookware bundle includes a cooking pot, frying pan and multi-tool. Made of tough, stainless steel, it’s heat-resistant with silicone-coated handles and is easy to clean. 

Check out this new product here

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