Tropical Storm Erika Dissipates After Carving a Deadly Path Through the Caribbean
Photo via Twitter/karinaleblanc
While bringing a deluge to eastern Cuba and looming on the horizon for Floridians, Tropical Storm Erika has dissipated, the Associated Press reported — but not without leaving death and devastation in its wake in the Caribbean.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, via the AP, Hispaniola’s mountains and “unfavorable environment” sapped Erika’s energy, causing the storm to degenerate into a “trough of low pressure” Saturday morning.
Even as the storm loses strength, John Cagialosi, a hurricane specialist at the center, told the AP that Florida should be ready for considerable precipitation, saying, "This is a potentially heavy rain event for a large part of the state."
The AP noted that Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the whole state with officials urging residents to fill gas tanks and stockpile food and water.
Erika’s impact was felt across the Caribbean. Five deaths and property damage were reported in Haiti and millions of dollars in crop damage occurred in Puerto Rico. But the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica was hit the hardest.
At least 20 are dead and 31 missing on the island, which received about 15 inches of rain. Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a televised address Friday, "This is a period of national tragedy … Floods swamped villages, destroyed homes and wiped out roads. Some communities are no longer recognizable."
Skerrit declared in the address that Erika set the island back 20 years. "The extent of the devastation is monumental. It is far worse than expected," he said, adding that hundreds of homes, bridges and roads have been destroyed. "We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica."
The prime minister urged citizens to share what they had until foreign help arrived.
Officials with the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency told the AP the island's airports are closed and flooding and landslides have cut off some communities from help.
Before the disaster, tourists flocked to Dominica for its mountainous natural beauty and abundance of dive sites according to TripAdvisor.
Major cruise lines have been altering their itineraries to give Erika a wide berth, even as the storm breaks apart, so those setting sail in the Caribbean in the immediate future should check with their cruise line for up-to-the-minute information.
As of Saturday morning the Hurricane Center, via the AP, said the remnants of Erika were about 130 miles east of Camaguey, Cuba, moving west-northwest around 22 mph. Maximum sustained winds are in the neighborhood of 35 mph.
Moving through Cuba on Saturday, the Hurricane Center puts the unorganized system in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. There will be no more public advisories.
Pray for Dominica. pic.twitter.com/jV2RBe1IyW— Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) August 27, 2015
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