The flooding in Dominica has become devastating as Tropical Storm Erika ravages through the area, bringing heavy rainfall and triggering landslides.
According to the Washington Post, the estimates from the radar suggest the island in the Caribbean has received at least six inches of rain in only six hours.
On Thursday morning, the tropical storm was directly over the Lesser Antilles, but it seemed as though the majority of the rainfall was landing in Dominica. Although the winds are not incredibly high — the National Hurricane Center estimated that Erika’s sustained winds were 50 mph, with gusts up to 65 mph — the flooding is wreaking havoc through the area.
Not only is the raging water flowing through the city, it is also causing buildings to collapse and is triggering landslides that have already destroyed at least 20 homes and left at least four people dead and five people missing.
Police Superintendent Daniel Carbon said four deaths have already been associated with the landslides, with three of them occurring in the southeast part of the island, KLS reports. The fourth death happened at the capital of Roseau.
“We’re advising people to stay put,” Carbon said, noting that they have also been receiving several reports of injuries, but do not currently have any further details.
Roads have been littered with fallen trees and light poles, after the main river that runs through Roseau overflowed its banks and moved into the streets. About 80 percent of the island was without electricity and water supply was cut off, according to the authorities.
“The situation is grim. It is dangerous,” said Ian Pinard, Dominica’s communications minister.
The governments in San Juan, Puerto Rico, have ordered that all schools, airports, and casinos to remain closed as they begin to prepare shelters for those who have been impacted by the floods. Gov. Kenneth Map said the government offices in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be closed, and all airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be closed until Friday, August 28.
Tropical Storm Erika was expected to move towards the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, chief forecaster James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was originally expected to move towards Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday and then be just north of the Dominican Republic on Friday as it headed toward South Florida.
“That would certainly not be good news for Hispaniola,” he said. “They’re very vulnerable to flooding. And even if Erika is a weak system, that could be very bad there.”
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