Forecasts predicted Tropical Storm Erika might turn into a hurricane, but after tearing a deadly path through the Caribbean it has begun to weaken.
The Inquisitr previously reported that experts believed that Tropical Storm Erika was on its way to becoming a category 1 hurricane. The only thing standing in its way were the mountain in Hispaniola.
After crossing those mountains, Erika dropped below tropical storm force and became a low-pressure system as of Saturday morning.
The weakening came too late for some.
Erika’s death toll rose to twenty and the count of those missing rose to fifty as of Saturday evening.
Tropical Storm Erika brought landslides and heavy rains that caused accidents, injuries and property damage that overwhelmed many areas.
“The extent of the devastation is monumental. It is far worse than expected,” Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said during a televised address on Friday. He explained that Erika destroyed hundreds of structures, including homes and bridges.
“This is a period of national tragedy,” he said. “Floods swamped villages, destroyed homes and wiped out roads. Some communities are no longer recognizable.”
“We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica,” Prime Minister Skerrit added.
Before Tropical Storm Erika was downgraded and began to move past the islands, it caused over $16 million in damage to crops and cut power to more than 200,000 people in Puerto Rico.
Haiti was forced to evacuate prisoners in Gonaives due to flooding as well.
Despite the fact that Erika has been downgraded and is no longer a tropical storm, Florida is still preparing to be hit with what’s left.
As Erika moves into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, it will bring heavy rains to the area. The National Weather Service in Melbourne is concerned that it could also cause isolated tornadoes along the coasts.
Southern Florida entered a state of emergency on Friday and is now under a flood watch that will last until Monday morning. Some areas have already been flooded by heavy rains that have hit over the past couple of days.
A resident of Kissimmee, Florida, was forced to evacuate his home due to flooding already occurring nearby.
“We’re not staying in the trailer. The winds will tip it over or the lake behind us will just take it away,” Edward Lopez told the Inquisitr. “It’s already flooded with the storm we had Friday and it’s gonna be flooding again. I’m just scared there might be a tornado…”
[ Images courtesy of NASA and Edward Lopez ]