Four dead in Dominica as Tropical Storm Erika brings rain and floods
Tropical Storm Erika dumped almost nine inches of torrential rainfall on Dominica, causing widespread flooding and mudslides that killed at least four people on the island, as the system crossed the Eastern Caribbean and headed towards Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Thursday.
Police Superintendent Daniel Carbon said three of the deaths occurred in a mudslide in the southeast of the island. Authorities recovered the bodies of an elderly blind man and two children from their home.
A fourth death occurred in the capital of Roseau, where a man was found near his home following a mudslide.
About 80 percent of the island was without electricity and the water supply was cut off, authorities said.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Thursday, the centre of Tropical Storm Erika was located about 175 miles (280 km) west of Guadeloupe, moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue for the next 48 hours.
On the forecast track, the centre of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands on Thursday evening, move near or over Puerto Rico Thursday night, and move near or over the Dominican Republic on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h), with higher gusts. No significant change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) from the centre.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Anguilla, Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, St Martin, St Barthelemy, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic from the northern border with Haiti eastward and southward to Isla Saona.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for Guadeloupe, the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Interests elsewhere in the Dominican Republic and in Haiti should monitor the progress of Erika.
Tropical storm conditions were expected to continue over portions of the warning area in the Leeward Islands on Thursday afternoon, and reach the Virgin Islands on Thursday evening and Puerto Rico on Thursday night. Tropical storm conditions were possible in the watch area in the Leeward Islands on Thursday afternoon. Tropical storm conditions could reach portions of the watch area in the Dominican Republic on Friday, and the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands late Friday and Friday night.
Erika is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches with maximum amounts of 12 inches possible across portions of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the southeastern Bahamas through Saturday. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Flight operations at Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands will be suspended from 6 pm Friday to 12 pm Sunday due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
Winds are forecast to be sustained at 46 knots with higher gusts. Together with torrential rain, adverse conditions will prevent safe operations into the country’s main port of entry.