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Hurricane Fiona strengthened is now the strongest hurricane of 2022 in the Atlantic — and it could get even stronger.
Fiona intensified to a Category 3 hurricane as it tracked very close to the Turks and Caicos Islands early Tuesday morning with 115 mph winds. A hurricane warning remained in effect for the islands.
The National Hurricane Center said that the center of Fiona was very close to Grand Turk Island as of 4 a.m. CDT Tuesday and hurricane conditions were spreading over the islands.
The long-range track for Fiona keeps the storm well away from the U.S. East Coast, but it could make a direct hit on Bermuda later this week and impact parts of Atlantic Canada this weekend, according to forecasters.
As of 4 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the center of Hurricane Fiona was located about 20 miles southeast of Grand Turk Island and was tracking to the north-northwest at 10 mph.
Fiona had winds up to 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane. More strengthening is expected, and Fiona could become a Category 4 hurricane in the next few days with winds as high as 140 mph, according to the hurricane center’s intensity forecast.
Next in Fiona’s path could be Bermuda, and the hurricane center warned those on that island to pay close attention to the storm. The long-range track puts Bermuda in the center of the so-called “cone of uncertainty.”
The hurricane center said that on the forecast track the center of Fiona will pass near the easternmost Turks and Caicos over the next few hours. Fiona could approach Bermuda late Thursday night into Friday, according to the forecast path.
Here are the warnings for Fiona as of early Tuesday:
* A hurricane warning is in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
* A tropical storm warning is in effect for the southeastern Bahamas, including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana and the Ragged Islands.
Hurricane conditions were ongoing in the Turks and Caicos and will continue this morning, the hurricane center said. Tropical storm conditions could begin in the southeastern Bahamas later this morning.
Here is the forecast for rain from Fiona:
* British and U.S. Virgin Islands: Additional 2 to 4 inches. Storm total up to 10 inches on St. Croix.
* Southern Puerto Rico: Additional local 1 to 4 inches over the next 24 hours. Storm total 12 to 20 inches with local maximum of 35 inches.
* Northern Puerto Rico: Additional local 1 to 2 inches over the next 24 hours. Storm total 4 to 12 inches with local maximum of 20 inches.
* Northern and Eastern Dominican Republic: Additional 1 to 4 inches with local maximum of 6 inches over the next 24 hours. Storm total up to 20 inches in the eastern section.
* Rest of Dominican Republic and Eastern Haiti: 3 to 6 inches.
* Turks and Caicos: 4 to 8 inches.
* Southeast Bahamas: 1 to 4 inches.
Storm surge is also a concern. Fiona could bring 5 to 8 feet of surge to the Turks and Caicos islands today.
The hurricane center said heavy rain and flash flooding could continue in the Dominican Republic today, and additional flash flooding is possible in southern portions of Puerto Rico as well.
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