Tropical Storm Emily threatens Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti
Tropical Storm Emily Tuesday continued its way to the northeast of the Caribbean Sea and brought heavy rains and winds to Puerto Rico on its way to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Xinhua reported.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm which was still "little organized," could bring 15 centimeters of rain to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, enough to cause flooding and landslides in areas that had already received considerable rainfalls.
The storm, which formed on Monday, marks the beginning of the most active months of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean.Emily passed near the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday morning, NHC meteorologists said that Emily was located at 425 km southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and had winds of 65 km per hour (KPH).
The rain hit hardest western Puerto Rico, largely sparing the capital. Local governments have declared a state of emergency and most government offices were closed.
Meanwhile, the Dominican Meteorology National Office (Onamet) said that Emily was located Tuesday morning at 500 km South East Cabo Engano, and it was traveling toward west at 26 kph. It was expected to turn west-northeast.
Onamet said that the storm's maximum winds were actually about 65 kph and the cloudy weather conditions would affect this part of the Dominican territory Tuesday evening.
The Dominican government Tuesday kept the alert of tropical storm for the coast and began obligatory evacuation of the people living near the riverbeds and dams. It urged the residents to take precautions in other areas.
The Haitian government Tuesday called on people in refugee camps to evacuate from vulnerable locations. Haiti's weather service chief Ronald Semelfort said heavy rains could start pounding the country late Wednesday, warning this "represents a great danger for the country still fragile from the January 2010 earthquake."