Connecticut residents keep a close eye on Puerto Rico after Fiona

The violent gusts and torrential downpours also knocked out power across the entire island on Sunday.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut locals with family in Puerto Rico are keeping a close eye on the damage left behind by Hurricane Fiona.

The National Hurricane Center clocked fierce 85 mph winds as Tropical Storm Fiona strengthened into a hurricane Sunday, slamming Puerto Rico as it made landfall on the island’s southwest coast as a Category 1 storm.

The violent gusts and torrential downpours also knocked out power across the entire island on Sunday. The company in charge of running the island’s power grid says it could take days to restore electricity fully. 

“It caught people off guard a little bit, although everyone on the island were prepared because after Maria nobody’s taking any chances anymore, but they just didn’t think there would be so much rain,” said Amilcar Hernandez with CICD Puerto Rican Parade, Inc. Hartford Chapter. 

RELATED: Fiona nears Dominican Republic after pounding Puerto Rico

Hernandez has family living in Puerto Rico and was in touch with them as the storm passed through.

“I have family members that they were super anxious as they were seeing Fiona, tropical storm at that point, coming and then when it turned into a hurricane Category 1 you can tell when they were speaking to me, how anxious they were, how worried they were because they still have the memory of Maria.

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico five years ago Tuesday, devastating the island.

“Puerto Rico has not recovered yet even five years after. There’s a lot of money that FEMA has already approved for Maria and the government in Puerto Rico has not been able to access the funds and do away with what they need to do because of a lot of systematic issues in the government,” Hernandez said. “We still have about 3,000 homes with the blue tarps for those that lost their roofing, and that’s a lot of homes five years after Hurricane Maria, so when something like this happens, those homes are very vulnerable.”

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 Hernandez said the storms have also taken an emotional toll on the people in Puerto Rico.

“We’re piling basically these issues, these emotional traumas, one on top of the other because you haven’t recovered from Maria but you’re now dealing with another storm causing a lot of damage,” said Hernandez.

RELATED: Alaska braces for floods, power outages as huge storm nears

President Joe Biden on Sunday approved an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico on Sunday freeing up FEMA funds to cover disaster relief efforts.

Angelo Bavaro is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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