SALINAS, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Fiona has dumped tremendous amounts of rain on Puerto Rico, leaving parts of the island underwater.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 2 feet of rain is estimated to have fallen across southeastern parts of the island as of Monday morning. Salinas, located on the southeast coast, received more than 18 inches of rain. The town got 2.2 inches of rain in just an hour and wind gusts of 55 mph at the height of the storm, according to the NWS.
Drone video recorded by a storm chaser in Salinas showed block after block of homes and businesses surrounded by water. The streets looked more like canals. The only sight that looked in place was a parking lot filled with boats on trailers that had been flooded, making it look more like a marina.
Video from the ground showed an SUV surrounded by water up to the top of its wheel wells.
Neighbors who were stuck inside all day Sunday, sheltering from the hurricane, sloshed through streets Monday as they surveyed the damage.
Only the reptiles looked comfortable walking the streets.
Even as Fiona departed Puerto Rico and crossed over the Dominican Republic, bands of rain continued to dump several inches more on the soaked island. The NWS issued a Flash Flood Warning for Salinas until Monday evening. The storm could still drop 4 to 6 inches of additional rain.
"Mudslide and rockfalls are likely in areas of steep terrain," read the NWS warning about life-threatening flash flooding.
"Turn around, don’t drown when encountering flooded roads," the warning continued. "Most flood deaths occur in vehicles."
Six inches of moving water can make a walker fall, according to the NWS Flood Safety Information page. Six inches of water also reaches the bottom of most cars which can result in stalling and loss of control. A foot of water can float many vehicles, and 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most cars, SUVs and pickups.