The first effects of storm Fiona were felt Friday evening September 16 in Guadeloupe, placed on red alert for heavy rains and thunderstorms shortly before 6 p.m. (Saturday at midnight in mainland France). Some roads were already waterlogged in the evening, especially in Basse-Terre, where the bulk of the phenomenon is expected during the night.
According to the latest report from Météo-France, the center of storm Fiona was at 6 p.m. over Guadeloupe, where gusty winds are expected “up to 100/120 km/h” during the night, as well as torrential rains that can generate “many floods”. Meteorologists have also placed the island on orange alert to "strong winds" and “waves-submersion”.
“All trips are to be avoided from now on (…) you really have to stay at home” for “avoid taking risks”insisted the prefect of Guadeloupe, Alexandre Rochatte, Friday evening in the local media.
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The road to Saint Louis, "whose ford has already overflowed" was to be closed at 6 p.m. local time and the Route de la Traversée at 7 p.m. "due to the risk of falling trees"announced the prefecture in a statement published late Friday afternoon. “Air traffic will be suspended from 7 p.m. tonight until tomorrow Saturday at 12 p.m.” and will only resume subject to weather conditions, the statement also said.
Heritage Days postponed
Storm Fiona was initially supposed to touch the Guadeloupe archipelago but “sent a little further south than expected”according to Météo-France, which placed Martinique on orange alert “heavy rain and thunderstorms”.
All schools in Guadeloupe closed at noon (6 p.m. in mainland France) and many residents tidied up the terraces, working to remove potential projectiles, likely to create damage under the effects of the wind.
In the supermarkets of the island, the queues at the checkout had been long Friday morning. In particular, customers had stocked up on water packs, to compensate for the cuts that often occur during bad weather.
All weekend activities such as sports competitions, or heritage days, have been canceled due to the arrival of the storm. Heritage days may be postponed " at a later date " said the prefecture on Friday morning in a press release.
According to Meteo France, Fiona "formed in the mid-Atlantic on September 15" and "It is the 6e tropical system of the season over the Atlantic Basin ». September 16 is also the anniversary of Cyclone Hugo, a category 5 hurricane that devastated the island in 1989.