August 2, 2011
EMILY the first major storm of the 2011 hurricane season will hit Haiti shortly after midnight Wednesday. EMILY could still develop into a full fledge hurricane during its approach.
ROUSEAU, Dominica (AP) — Tropical Storm Emily was expected to bring heavy rain Tuesday to Puerto Rico after crossing the northeast Caribbean sea on a track that would take it near Haiti within 24 hours.
The storm was expected to bring up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain to the Leeward and Windward islands and 6 inches (15 centimeters) to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, enough to cause flash floods and mud slides in areas that have already seen heavy rainfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
As the storm passed near Dominica, a weather official urged people to hunker down for the night.
“We are just advising everyone to stay put, stay alert,” Senior Acting Meteorological Officer Cheryl Etienne Lebanc said on the state-owned radio station. “Now, might not be the time to be venturing out.”
People appeared to be taking the advice as the streets were deserted on the island known for its rugged, natural beauty.
Rosie Brown, a resident of the tiny western town of Mero, said she was praying the island would be spared major damage.
“So far, it has been just a little rain, but I just pray to God that it does not get stronger and passes us free. We don’t need another bad storm here, like the one a few years ago,” said Brown, referring to Hurricane Dean, which brought flooding and battered banana farms in 2007.
At Jungle Bay, a remote 55-acre (22-hectare) resort and spa above Pointe Mulatre Bay in the lush Caribbean island’s southwestern coast, guests hunkered down in tropical hardwood cottages on stilts. Front desk worker Joanna Lloyd said she could hear the sound of surf below the cedar and almond trees that dot the resort.
“The sea is a bit rough, but the rain has stopped for the moment. It’s not so bad,” Lloyd said from Jungle Bay during a brief telephone interview.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was about 245 miles (390 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico at 5 a.m. EDT (0900 GMT). It had sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and was moving west near 16 mph (26 kph). It was expected to gradually strengthen as it crossed the northeastern Caribbean Sea and approach the island of Hispaniola on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Desirade, Les Saintes, Marie Galante, Vieques and Culbera.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua and Haiti.