Dom Rep Braces For Deadly Tropical Storm

August 28, 2015




SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AFP) — The Dominican Republican braced for a direct blast from Tropical Storm Erika Friday, issuing its highest alert after reports the storm killed at least 20 people on the small island of Dominica. 

“The latest trajectory models indicate that the Dominican Republic will see a direct hit from Erika,” Gloria Ceballos, the director of the National Meteorological Office, said via Twitter.

The storm’s approach set off a scramble to prepare as far north as the US state of Florida, where the governor declared a state of emergency.

Erika left the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica in shambles after a direct hit there on Thursday as the storm raked the Lesser Antilles.

Ian Pinard, the island’s public works minister, told CBS News at least 20 people were dead and more were missing.

“The country has been severely devastated,” Pinard separately told TV6, a station in Trinidad.

The bodies of an elderly man and two children were pulled from floods and mudslides in the town of Good Hope and officials expected the death toll to rise considerably, according to the website

With Erika just 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Santo Domingo, authorities in the Dominican Republic issued a red alert, the country’s highest.

Schools were closed and civil protection organizations were ordered to be at the ready so that, if necessary, they could quickly jump into action.

With unusually high waves expected, the Emergency Operations Center also closed beaches and banned vessels from leaving ports.

The Dominican Republic is particularly vulnerable to the impact of tropical storms due to the existence of rivers and streams in the capital Santo Domingo and other elsewhere.

Packing maximum sustained winds of near 85 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour), the storm could bring up to 12 inches of rain across parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as portions of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and the southeastern and central Bahamas through Saturday, forecasters at the Miami-based National Hurricane Center warned.

“These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides,” it warned.

In Puerto Rico, Erika left nearly 150,000 people without power, but appeared not to have caused major damage.

One possible silver lining: the rains could help ease a prolonged drought in the region.

On its current trajectory, Erika could smack into southern Florida by early Monday, forecasters said.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency throughout the state, warning the storm would “travel up the spine of Florida’s peninsula.”

“Tropical Storm Erika poses a severe threat to the entire state of Florida and requires that timely precautions are taken to protect the communities, critical infrastructure, and general welfare of this state,” Scott said.

The center of Erika was on track to move over the Dominican Republic Friday, move near the Turks and Caicos Islands Friday night, and move near the central and northwestern Bahamas Saturday and Saturday night, the NHC said.




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