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Projections for Tropical Storm Erika’s path changed today, August 28th. Predictions now place the storm running up Florida’s east coast, heading north. The small Caribbean island nation of Dominica was hit hard by the storm. Ian Pinard, the Minister of Public Works and Ports in Dominica has already announced there are at least 20 dead and many more missing. The mountainous nature of the country has resulted in rainwater pooling in valleys and making flash floods more intense, while also making search and rescue operations more difficult. The storm is supposed to dump over 12 inches of rain over the Northern Caribbean, which had been experiencing drought.

Tropical Storm Erika’s projected path (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

According to the US National Hurricane Service tropical storm warnings or watches are now in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, parts of Cuba, and Florida. Forecasters said that the storm could end up dissipating over Hispaniola, or could instead intensify near the Bahamas depending on how warm the Caribbean Sea gets. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico was set to activate the National Guard to assist in rescue and recovery efforts.

Friday morning, Governor Rick Scott alerted residents to the danger, telling them to prepare for a hurricane and declaring a state of emergency. Residents listened to the warnings, heading to grocery stores to stock up on water and other necessities. The cities of Hollywood and Hallandale, just north of Miami, announced that they would distribute sandbags to residents concerned about flooding. Officials said that they were also setting up pump stations to keep water levels low ahead of the storm surge. In other Florida cities, storm drains were cleared, streets cleaned, and trees trimmed in preparation for the storm.

Sources Further Reading:

  1. 12 dead, others missing after Tropical Storm Erika’s deluge hits Dominica-CNN
  2. Tropical Storm Erika Kills At Least 12 in Dominica; State of Emergency Declared in Florida-The Weather Channel
  3. Florida governor declares state of emergency as Tropical Storm Erika bears down-Fox News
  4. Erika lashes Puerto Rico; At least 20 dead in Dominica-CBS
  5. Tropical Storm ERIKA-NOAA, National Hurricane Service
  6. Caribbean Hurricane Network – stormCARIB
  7. Danny to Bring Beneficial Rain to Drought-Stricken Northern Caribbean Islands –
  8. Hurricane Danny Recap – The Weather Channel