Tropical Storm Erika continued to strengthen as it dumped torrential rainfall on islands in the Eastern Caribbean and appeared to be headed for the US East Coast early next week, the US National Hurricane Center said on Thursday.
Four people have died from severe weather and mudslides in Roseau, Dominica, according to the Associated Press. Authorities recovered the bodies of an elderly blind man and two children from the home.
The cause of the death for the fourth victim has not been determined.
A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast later today, and this general motion should continue for the next 48 hours.
“As the U.S. enters hurricane season again, Katrina remains a stark reminder of the devastation a storm like that can cause”, explained Google, in a blog post Thursday.
Public Safety/Emergency Management staff have spent the last few days touching base with partner agencies, coordinating with meteorologists on expected track forecast and maintaining Emergency Operations Center (EOC) readiness, should the need to activate the EOC arise. Some streets were turned into fast-flowing rivers. It was expected to reach the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Thursday evening, before passing over the Dominican Republic on Friday and continuing in a northwesterly direction over the Bahamas. On the forecast track, the center of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands later today, move near or north of Puerto Rico tonight, and pass north of the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Friday. He’s activated the National Guard as a precaution.
Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 45 miles per hour with higher gusts.
Also in the Pacific, a new tropical storm formed Thursday morning.
Forecasters describe Erika as a “sheared tropical cyclone”, partially broken up by strong winds that prevent storm development. Jimena was centred about 890 miles (1,430 kilometres) south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.