The Dominican Republic was hit by a strengthening storm

The Dominican Republic was hit by a strengthening storm

A man pulls a tree that has fallen in the road

Roads are blocked in the Dominican Republic

Hurricane Fiona continues to strengthen – threatening lives in parts of the Caribbean, US forecasters say.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the category two storm packing speeds of 115mph (185km/h) could even worsen to a category four – the second highest designation.

The rain has hit Puerto Rico, where at least two people have died and 90% of the island is still without power.

The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, says that damage is “significant”.

The hurricane was about 10 miles (15km) northwest of Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos Islands at 12:00 GMT on Tuesday, the NHC said.

Mr Abinader declared three eastern provinces of the Dominican Republic disaster areas, amid warnings from the NHC of “heavy rain and life-threatening flash floods”.

Several villages in the country were cut off as flood waters rose, forcing hundreds of people from their homes and leaving thousands without power.

Lexie Wilcox, who lives in the easternmost province of Altagracia, said it was the worst hurricane she had experienced and hit her local area much harder than 2017’s Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico.

On Monday morning there were trees down, roads blocked and lots of flooding.

She could not sleep, spending the night collecting rainwater.

The roof has been partially blown off her shed, and a security sign blown off her house.

Ms. Wilcox and her neighbors are without electricity, and they believe this could fix it for days as the storm continues.

Cengal returned for a few minutes on Monday, just long enough to allow Mr. Wilcox, who is from Canada, to watch the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral as the hurricane unfolded outside.

The NHC earlier warned of continued threats to life in Puerto Rico due to “catastrophic flooding”. About 1.3 million homes and businesses in Puerto Rico are currently without power, Reuters news agency reports. Fiona made landfall there on Sunday, causing not only flooding but also widespread landslides and mudslides.

US President Joe Biden pledged to increase support for the island after speaking with the governor.

Images shared on social media showed submerged cars and people trying to wade through water-logged streets, with efforts underway to rescue those trapped.

The victims in Puerto Rico were a 58-year-old man who died after being swept away by a river, and another in his 30s who died in a generator fire.

The storm caused an island-wide blackout that providers warned could take days to fix.

Puerto Rico’s electricity grid remains vulnerable after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria – the most powerful storm in its history.

30in (76cm) of rain is expected in some parts of the island as the storm passes.

Storm conditions are also forecast in the Bahamas, and people in Bermuda have been advised to monitor Fiona’s progress.

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