Fiona becomes a hurricane, aims at Puerto Rico

HAVANA (AP) — Fiona strengthened into a hurricane Sunday as it bore down on Puerto Rico, where people braced for severe wind and torrential rains.

Forecasters said “historic” levels of rain were expected to produce landslides and heavy flooding, with up to 25 inches (64 centimeters) forecast in isolated areas.

“It’s time to take action and be concerned,” said Nino Correa, Puerto Rico’s emergency management commissioner.

Fiona was centered 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Ponce, Puerto Rico, on Sunday morning. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

Anxiety ran high across the island with Fiona due just two days before the anniversary of Hurricane Maria, a devastating Category 4 storm that hit on Sept. 20, 2017, destroying the island’s power grid and causing nearly 3,000 deaths.

More than 3,000 homes still have only a blue tarp as a roof, and infrastructure remains weak.

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