Hurricane Fiona north of the Dominican Republic on September 19, 2022. NOAA GOES Satellite Image.

6th Named Storm of the Season to Become First Major Hurricane

Hurricane Fiona is the sixth named tropical cyclone of the 2022 hurricane season, and the third hurricane. It will probably become the first major hurricane of the season.

Tropical Depression 7 formed about 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands on the morning of September 14 as it moved east. Forecasters expected a tropical storm to form later that day and an updated forecast at 9:45 named it Tropical Storm Fiona, with 50 MPH sustained winds. Updates detailed the storm’s path as it headed for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Fiona brought catastrophic flooding to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding continue across much of Puerto Rico. Interests in Bermuda should monitor the progress of the storm and prepare for high seas, strong winds, and other impacts.

The National Hurricane Center issued Tropical Storm Watches for the Virgin Islands on Thursday and Tropical Storm Warnings later that day. As Fiona moved east, the NHC added watches and warnings for Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. A Hurricane Watch issued for Puerto Rico at five am AST for Saturday the 17th became a hurricane warning just six hours later. The NHC extended the warning to the Dominican Republic at eight that evening.

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Fiona became a hurricane as of the 11:00 AM Advisory on Sunday, September 18 as it approached western Puerto Rico from the southeast. It made landfall just before 2:00 PM and crossed western Puerto Rico in less than six hours. At 11:00 PM, Fiona made a second landfall on the Dominican Republic. Additional hurricane warnings went into effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands. The storm center moved off the coast around 2:00 PM on Monday.

Hurricane Warnings continue for the Dominican Republic and the Turks can Caicos Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for the Puerto Rico, portions of the Dominican Republic and the southeastern Bahamas.

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Hurricane Fiona Forecast Track September 19, 2022. NOAA Graphic

Hurricane Fiona Forecast

On Monday, September 19, the National Hurricane Center forecast track had Fiona turning north from the Dominican Republic Coast as a hurricane watch continued and warnings were in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Fiona will impact the islands with hurricane-force winds while passing to the west as the strong, category 2 hurricane continues to intensify. Within hours, intensity should increase to a category 3 hurricane by tomorrow and possibly reach category 4 on Wednesday. A gradual turn to the north and then northwest should occur by early Wednesday morning.

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The current forecast keeps the storm at category 3 as it passes about 150 miles west of Bermuda on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Current forecast models show a transition to a strong extra-tropical cyclone near the end of the forecast period on late on Friday or early Saturday. However, the same forecast predicts the storm will retain much of its strength when nears Nova Scotia late Friday and makes a Newfoundland landfall on Saturday.

Atlantic 5-Day Outlook on September 19, 2022. NOAA Graphic

Atlantic 5-Day Outlook September 19

On this day, September 19, 2022, the Tropical Weather Outlook by the National Hurricane Center includes ongoing forecast and public advisories for Hurricane Fiona, expected to become a Major Hurricane by Wednesday.

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An area of low pressure over the subtropical central Atlantic shows increasingly organized showers and thunderstorms. The system has a medium chance of tropical development and could form a depression in the next five days. It will move generally north during this period and poses no immediate threat to land.

A tropical wave three hundred miles to the east of the Windward Islands is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. It has a low chance of development through the next five days as it approaches the islands. Once over the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea, it could have a better chance of development beyond the current forecast period.