Pedro Pierluisi describes the damage caused by Cyclone Fiona as “catastrophic”.
Governor Peter Pierluzzi The damage Hurricane Fiona has caused so far on the island this afternoon has been classified as “catastrophic”, leaving behind, among other emergencies, floods, landslides, landslides and the collapse of the energy system.
In addition, the power system has already started to be restored, but priority will be given to “critical” or emergency areas such as the medical center in Rio Piedras, he said.. He doesn’t expect when the network will be fully powered because “it’s not reasonable to estimate that nature right now.”
“Several cases of serious damage such as roadblocks and the collapse of a bridge in Uduado have been reported across the island,” the governor told a press conference.
“This is a very delicate and sad situation, so I express my solidarity with all those who are suffering the loss. The damages we are seeing are devastating in many areas and I want our people to know that we are going to use all the resources of the government to provide all the necessary assistance,” he added.
The governor’s expressions were complemented by Ernesto Morales, director of the National Meteorological Service, who warned that the wind, wind and rain from Fiona will decrease and continue tomorrow, until Monday. Additionally, over the duration of the atmospheric event’s effects on the island, 30 inches of rain is predicted or expected, he said. The size is larger than the 25 inches initially expected, he said.
Morales expected an improvement in weather conditions between Tuesday and Wednesday. He said that it is raining continuously now.
“Right now, there’s at least one tropical storm force across Puerto Rico. But even on the west coast they’re still exposed to tropical storm force winds, even hurricane force winds. So, the winds are slowing down, but it’s going to take some time as this system gradually moves away from Puerto Rico, ” he said.
So, Morales said, the main problem with Cyclone Fiona on the island is the amount of rain it leaves behind and its effects.
“What this creates is an increase in the potential for flash flooding, even to historic levels. In catastrophic levels. So, it is very important for citizens to understand that this (cyclone) is not over. Monday will bring more rain,” the meteorologist said.
Despite this situation, the governor reiterated what he said before Cyclone Fiona arrived that the government is prepared to deal with any atmospheric event or emergency as part of the hurricane season.
“A hurricane of this nature makes it to any part of the United States in Florida, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. The important thing here is how long it will take to restore service and the commitment to do it gradually,” he pointed out.
“The response so far has been great. He coordinated all efforts perfectly. Communication could not have been better. We act like we really should. We are definitely ready. What happens depends on what type of event you are dealing with and what type of hurricane it is. In this case, it was a hurricane that covered Puerto Rico,” he added.
For the questions New dayThe first administrator said that the towns most affected by Fiona are in the southern zone such as Arroyo, Cuyama, Santa Isabel, Ponce, Guanilla and Cuanica.
“Except for the southern part, the hilly part, but it doesn’t stop there. This should be monitored,” he said.
He pointed out that before the hurricane hit the island, he had activated the National Guard. National Guard Vice-General Jose Juan Reyes was not available at the press conference, but the governor assured he was in constant contact with him.
He talked about how fragile the power grid was “which caused this blackout.” There was a power outage across the island from 1:00 p.m.
“Damage as Expected”
Precisely, regarding the power system, the governor said that “the power service suffered damage as expected”.
“They have already started operating generating units at the Palo Seco plant to power the medical center and the comprehensive cancer center. The medical center is operating using the entire complex. Using all its generators”, he pointed out, although he admitted that at some point the generators also failed.
“We’re going to start building the electrical system to serve the critical facilities, and we’ll continue from there,” Pierluzzi continued.
Jose Colon, executive director of the Electricity Authority, highlighted that some areas have already started to receive power. For example, they were able to get one of the Palo Seco units up and running so that many parts of Do Baja had electricity.
For his part, LUMA Energy’s public safety manager Abner Gomez said there were squads on the street but they protected them whenever needed. “Beyond stating that there are four main lines (south to north) that cross the island, he was unable to describe what those transmission lines were.
The potential of LUMA Energy
He noted that LUMA Energy has 1,395 line workers. He pointed out that 160 employees of Quanta, one of LUMA Energy’s parent companies, had arrived on the island at Fiona’s notice. Another 200 are waiting for better weather to reach Puerto Rico. Gomez said they will employ 339 employees at local private companies.
“Thousands of employees from various parent companies of Luma are ready to come here. I believe, I have faith, the damage is not so serious, we don’t need all those people to respond quickly to various breakdowns and restore the system as soon as possible. What happened in Maria will not happen hereGomez said.
The governor responded to reporters’ questions by saying that he had been in direct contact with senior management of LUMA Energy, who he assured were on the island.
About 196,000 customers are without service, and 150 generators are operating plants to serve 160,000 customers, said Toriel Bacon, director of the Water and Sewer Authority.
The secretary of the Department of Transport and Public Works, Eileen Vélez, confirmed that a bridge located on the PR-123 has collapsed and stressed that tomorrow, Monday, they will begin to evaluate it. Although the bridge was installed after Hurricane Maria in 2018, the official said it was not repaired because “it will be up to 75 years” after installation.
He pointed out that Cescos will be closed until Wednesday. The secretary also did not provide statistics on the number of public roads affected by the governor. Instead, he said it was “a comprehensive list”.
Without the number of evacuees
Nino Correa, commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Management, said multiple evacuations were necessary. He did not specify the amount, but the governor said the most significant occurred in the community of Ingenio, Toa Baja and San Antonio, Caguas.
Pierluzzi said 125 shelters were open and 107 were refugees. At this time, around 1,033 people are staying in shelters.
Tomorrow, Monday, the governor reiterated that there will be no classes in the public education system or in government, except for essential government employees in their respective government institutions.
“Everyone in Puerto Rico needs to be in a safe place,” he stressed.
Outpatient clinics at the medical center have been canceled as well as elective surgeries. Appointments at the Cardiovascular Center were also stopped.