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Puerto Rico was under the direct effects of Fiona between 48 to 60 hours

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Puerto Rico was under the direct effects of the tropical cyclone fiona between 48 to 60 hours, which is equivalent to a maximum period of three daysrevealed on Friday the National Weather Service (SNM) in San Juan.

However, the indirect effects of the system, such as the rains of its outer bands, began as early as the afternoon of Friday, September 16, until the early hours of Tuesday, the 20th. In fact, the period with the strongest downpours lasted from 9:00 am last Sunday, September 18, until 8:00 pm the following Monday.

In interview with The new daythe Science and Operations Officer (SOO) of the meteorological office in Puerto Rico, Ernest Rodriguezindicated that the information was part of the conclusions outlined in the preliminary report on the impacts caused by the cyclone on the island.

“We use the expertise from various agencies and data collected through sensors to make the report within the first five days after the storm. Later, we will issue a more complete report with historical data that includes not only values, but also audiovisual information,” Rodríguez said in a telephone interview.

The document details, for example, that the area of ​​Marueno, in Ponce, near the Cerrillo river basin, was where the greatest accumulation of precipitation was recordedsince the statistic was 32.40 inches of rain.

In fact, it reveals that it was in that same town where the strongest winds were also recorded. The maximum sustained wind speed was 79 miles per hour (mph), and the wind gust was up to 103 mphboth in the El Cocal area.

Sustained winds is the calculation of the average wind speed for two minutes. Meanwhile, gusts imply wind variations of 10 knots or more between peaks and moments of calm, according to the definition of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, in English).

Specifically, the six-page preliminary report breaks down rainfall accumulation, barometric pressures, sustained winds, gust winds, wave height, and damage recorded as a result of the system’s passage through the region.

It even includes the number of deaths, two, directly related to the cyclone.

The information is preliminary in nature, so it remains subject to review and could change in the full report that will be issued later.

“This type of report contains information that can be used by farmers to later request aid for crop losses. This information also serves to justify the disbursement of federal aid to citizens and small businesses,” said the meteorologist.

The report highlights that Caguas and San Lorenzo occupied positions two and three, respectively, as the towns with the highest rainfall accumulation, after Marueno, in Ponce. Caguas accumulated approximately 31.42 inches of rain, while San Lorenzo received 31.33 inches.

It should be noted that preliminary estimates from Puerto Rico’s Doppler radar suggested that up to 35 inches of rain had been received from last Friday afternoon to Tuesday morning. These data, which are estimated by the radar itself, will continue to be analyzed since they must be contrasted with measured data, from stations and rain gauges.

Cabo Rojo accumulated 12.19 inches, specifically in the Las Arenas area. This town, which was where Fiona’s eye landed, is not yet included under the major disaster declaration approved by the president Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, San Juan, which is included in the federal declaration, only received about 7.29 inches and received only sustained storm force winds of 43 mph. The strongest gust in San Juan, according to the season of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airportit was 48 mph.

The report also states that there were catastrophic floods as a result of the rains, that roads were impassable and that there were thousands of rescues in at least 25 municipalities.

Likewise, it confirms that the most severe floods were registered in the El Coquí, Playa and La Playita sectors, in Salinas.

Rodríguez explained that the data collected in this report comes from various sources such as: wind sensors, rain gauges, buoys, Doppler radar (WSR-88D) and weather stations.

“In terms of what we are looking for to make this preliminary report, it is not only the stations that measure winds to categorize hurricanes, but we are also looking for, for example, rain gauges,” he asserted.

“The input from State Emergency Management (Nmead) and FEMA is collected, which have teams on the street making damage reports, and the collection of that information helps us to assess the impacts,” the expert pointed out.

The final report on the impacts of Fiona in Puerto Rico is expected to be published through a web portal where the government, the media and the general public will be able to download copies. Completion of such a report could take weeks or months, as it requires multiple corroborating data.

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