Flooding from Hurricane Fiona destroys a bridge in Puerto Rico

UTUADO, Puerto Rico — Local residents and first responders watched helplessly as floodwaters engulfed the city’s bridge and washed it downstream. Hurricane Fiona lashed the area with 85-mph winds that fell in the 100-pound gusts and rainfall ranging from 2 to nearly 6 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Puerto Rico is expected to receive several inches of rain through Tuesday, raising concerns about flooding and mudslides. Southern Puerto Rico could see 12 to 18 inches of rain, with some areas receiving up to 30 inches of rain.

“These levels of rainfall will cause catastrophic, life-threatening flash floods and urban flooding,” the NHC tweeted.

Watch the video above as the river rises over the roadway and pulls on the bridge. Then listen to the groans of protest as the metal desperately tries to grab the foundation before the force rips it loose.

Almost in slow motion, the bridge is overwhelmed by the rushing masses of water and is directed downstream. The force pulls on the crash barrier, which gradually releases the floor supports. As it follows the bridge, the metal takes out street signs. The rail hits the power pole, which trembles but remains standing.

Footage shows the bridge being traversed by the waters of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Footage shows the bridge being traversed by the waters of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
Jean Carlos Velez novel about Storyful

At the end of the video, it’s hard to tell if the sound of the amazed onlookers is laughing or crying.

The bridge was a replacement for one destroyed by Hurricane Maria

However, they are no strangers to this scene. Flooding from Hurricane Maria in 2017 destroyed the original bridge and cut off the mountain area from civilization, according to a tweet by Congressman Roberto Lefranc Fortuno of Puerto Rico.

He wrote: “The temporary bridge at Utuado, PR-123, has collapsed. This bridge was installed after Hurricane Maria in 2017.”

Footage of the bridge is shown before Hurricane Fiona tears it down in Puerto Rico.
Footage of the bridge is shown before Hurricane Fiona tears it down in Puerto Rico.
Jean Carlos Velez novel about Storyful

According to PreventionWeb.net, an agency managed by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, regional authorities did not reach Utuado for 10 days and federal aid took 42 days to arrive.

Maria struck on September 20 and the photo above shows the US Department of Homeland Security delivering food and water to remote neighborhoods in mid-October.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/19/hurricane-fionas-floodwaters-destroy-bridge-in-puerto-rico/ Flooding from Hurricane Fiona destroys a bridge in Puerto Rico

JACLYN DIAZ

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