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Hurricane Fiona

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Hurricane Ian may be long gone from Florida, but the job of restoring power and searching for anyone still inside flooded or damaged homes presses on. About 400,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity Tuesday in Florida and it will be the weekend before most power is restored. Meanwhile, the much weakened storm isn't finished. Officials warned that Ian's remnants could still cause coastal flooding from Long Island, New York, south to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Eighty-four deaths have been blamed on Ian, including 75 in Florida, five in North Carolina, three in Cuba and one in Virginia. Authorities say the death toll could rise as crews continue searching homes in the hardest-hit areas.

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Days after Hurricane Ian carved a path of destruction from Florida to the Carolinas, the dangers persisted, and even worsened in some places. It was clear the road to recovery from the storm will be long and painful. More than 500,000 homes and businesses remained without power Monday in Florida and it will be the weekend before most power is restored. And Ian still is not done. Officials warned there still was the potential of coastal flooding from Long Island south to North Carolina's Outer Banks where the only highway to the barrier islands was closed by sand and seawater. Seventy-eight deaths have been blamed on Ian, with 71 of them reported in Florida.

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President Joe Biden promises to “rebuild it all” after visiting Puerto Rico on Monday to survey damage from Hurricane Fiona, as tens of thousands of people remain without power two weeks after the storm hit. Biden says he's “committed to this island,” and acknowledges that Fiona was only the latest in a string of disasters that have battered the U.S. territory in recent years. The president says Puerto Ricans "haven’t gotten the help in a timely way.” The damage from Fiona, which came only five years after the even more powerful Hurricane Maria, will test his administration’s ability to help the island of 3.2 million people recover and bolster its defenses.

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The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian’s passage has risen to four overall after an official said late Thursday that two residents of a hard-hit barrier island on Florida’s western coast were confirmed dead. Dana Souza, city manager of Sanibel, said the deaths were confirmed by fire officials but offered no other specifics.Two other people have also died. A 38-year old man from Lake County died Wednesday in a motor vehicle accident after his vehicle hydroplaned and a 72-year old man in Deltona was confirmed dead on Thursday. Officials with the Volusia sheriff’s office said the man went outside to drain his pool and fell into a canal.

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President Joe Biden says the entire United States "hurts" along with the people of Florida after Hurricane Ian flooded communities across the state, knocked out power and raised fear of a "substantial loss of life.” Biden went to the Washington headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a briefing on federal response efforts. The president says the storm could up as the “deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history.” He also says he intends to visit Florida as soon as “conditions allow." And he'll go to Puerto Rico, which was ravaged by Hurricane Fiona before Ian struck Florida.

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Hurricane Ian is quickly gaining monstrous strength as it moves over oceans partly heated up by climate change, just like 30 other Atlantic tropical storms since 2017 that became much more powerful in less than a day. This turbocharging of storms is likely to become even more frequent as the world gets warmer, scientists say. After getting 67% stronger in less than 22 hours from Monday to Tuesday, Ian is bearing down as a likely Category 4 hurricane that threatens to deliver a potential nightmare storm-surge to the Tampa Bay and southwest Florida regions. Ian’s so-called rapid intensification occurred after it traveled over Caribbean waters that are about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) warmer than normal.

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Authorities and residents in Florida are keeping a cautious eye on Tropical Storm Ian as it rumbles through the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center said Sunday it expects Ian to rapidly strengthen and become a major hurricane by Monday as it passes over Cuba. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a statewide emergency, expanding an order from Friday that had covered two dozen counties. He is urging Floridians to prepare for a storm that could lash large swaths of the state. Some residents have begun stocking up on supplies such as water, plywood and generators. President Joe Biden has also declared an emergency for the state.

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Officials are fanning out across Puerto Rico to gauge the damage inflicted by Hurricane Fiona. People are returning to homes now empty because flooding has destroyed belongings. And they fret about how they will rebuild their lives after a devastating hurricane for the second time in five years. Fiona hit a week ago and about 45% of Puerto Rico’s power customers remain in the dark,. About 20% of water customers have no service. Gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses have temporarily shut down due to lack of fuel for generators.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency across his entire state as Tropical Storm Ian gains strength over the Caribbean and is forecast to become a major hurricane in coming days. An emergency order DeSantis initially issued for two dozen counties was expanded to a statewide warning on Saturday. The governor is encouraging residents and localities to prepare for the storm, which could lash large swaths of Florida. The National Hurricane Center said Ian is forecast to rapidly power up to a hurricane by Sunday and a major hurricane as soon as late Monday. It's expected to move over western Cuba before approaching Florida in the middle of next week.

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A growing number of businesses including grocery stores and gas stations are temporarily closing across Puerto Rico as power outages caused by Hurricane Fiona drag on in the U.S. territory, sparking concern about the availability of fuel and basic goods. Handwritten signs warning of closures have been popping up more frequently, eliciting sighs and groans from customers on an island where 62% of 1.47 million clients still do not have power more than four days after the storm hit. Puerto Rico’s Department of Consumer Affairs says there is no shortage of fuel, but rather a disruption to the system as a result of flooding, landslides and an island-wide power outage caused by Fiona.

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Powerful Hurricane Fiona is pounding Bermuda with heavy rains and winds as it sweeps by the island on a route that is forecast to have approaching northeastern Canada as a still-powerful storm late Friday. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Premier David Burt urged residents to “take care of yourself and your family.” The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Fiona should reach Canada as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”

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Hurricane Fiona left dozens of families stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, with authorities still struggling to reach people four days after the storm smacked the U.S. territory, causing historic flooding. For now, government officials are working with religious groups, nonprofits and others braving landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt by foot to provide food, water and medicine for people in need, but they are under pressure to clear a path so vehicles can enter isolated areas soon. At least six municipalities have areas cut off by the storm.

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More than a half million people in Puerto Rico remain without water service three days after after Hurricane Fiona slammed the U.S. territory. Many are spending hours in lines to fill jugs from water trucks. Others scoop water from mountain runoff. Fiona dumped roughly two feet of rain on parts of Puerto Rico before hitting the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Category 4 storm is likely to near Bermuda late Thursday and then easternmost Canada late Friday. The storm played havoc with the Puerto Rico’s patched up electrical grid. As of Wednesday, roughly 70% of Puerto Rican customers lacked electricity.

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