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Hurricane Fiona strengthens to Category 4 storm as it approaches Bermuda (copy)

Sept. 21, 2022 Updated Wed., Sept. 21, 2022 at 5:54 p.m.

A sailboat is dragged to the shore by strong waves in the Bay of Samana after the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Samana, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday.  (ERIKA SANTELICES/Getty Images North America/TNS)
A sailboat is dragged to the shore by strong waves in the Bay of Samana after the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Samana, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday. (ERIKA SANTELICES/Getty Images North America/TNS)
By Kate Feldman New York Daily News

Hurricane Fiona continues marching north through the Caribbean, leaving blackouts and flooding in its wake.

The storm was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with winds up to 130 mph as it sits about 700 miles southwest of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 8 a.m. update. By late Thursday, Fiona is expected to reach Bermuda, which is under a hurricane watch.

Fiona could continue to strengthen, forecasters said Wednesday.

The storm made landfall in Puerto Rico Sunday, blacking out the entire island still trying to rebuild after the devastating Hurricane Maria. More than 1 million customers remain without power Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.us. Much of the area also lost running water.

After laying waste to Puerto Rico, Fiona continued north, touching down in the Dominican Republic and then swirling up to Turks and Caicos.

At least four people have been killed . They include two in the Dominican Republic, including 18-year-old Aurielys Esther Jimenez, who was hit by a falling power pole, and a man who was knocked over by a tree toppled by strong winds, and two in Puerto Rico, including 58-year-old Gilberto Ayala Aponte, who drowned in a flooded river, and 70-year-old José Cruz Román, who died in a fire accidentally sparked while he was trying to fill his generator.

The U.S. State Department Tuesday urged visitors to “reconsider travel” to Bermuda this week and announced the voluntary departure of any family members of government officials who are stationed there.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell landed in Puerto Rico Tuesday to “assess the devastation … and determine the additional resources needed to support the island’s recovery.”

“Our partnership with the Government of Puerto Rico has never been stronger and we remain committed to helping them respond to and recover from Hurricane Fiona,” she said in a statement.

“We’re sending hundreds of additional personnel in the next few days to place staff in each of the affected communities to supplement our already vast footprint.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also announced plans to send 100 state troopers to Puerto Rico to help with the recovery efforts.

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