Hurricane Fiona caused at least two deaths when it lashed the Dominican Republic earlier this week. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC

Hurricane Fiona caused at least two deaths when it lashed the Dominican Republic earlier this week. Image courtesy NOAA/NHC

Sept. 21 (UPI) — Hurricane Fiona strengthened into a Category 4 storm early Wednesday as it moved toward Bermuda after whipping Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

The National Hurricane Center said in its 5 a.m. EDT update that the storm was located 170 miles northwest of Grand Turk Island and 720 miles southwest of Bermuda. It had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and was moving northwest at 8 mph.

“A turn toward the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected by Thursday,” the NHC said in its update.

“On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will continue to move away from the Turks and Caicos today, and approach Bermuda late on Thursday.”

The hurricane is not projected to make landfall anywhere in the United States.

Fiona became a Category 3 storm — which meets the definition of a major hurricane — on Tuesday, a day earlier than forecasters expected.

The storm made a turn northward after it lashed Puerto Rico on Sunday and moved over the Dominican Republic. Heavy rains fell on both islands and at least two people were reported dead in the Dominican Republic.

More than a million people in Puerto Rico were still without electricity on Tuesday.

Fiona is the sixth named tropical system in the Atlantic basin this year, following Alex, Bonnie, Colin, Danielle and Earl.



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