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4 killed in Dominica as Tropical Storm Ericka hits

Tropical Storm Ericka blew through the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica unleashing landslides and leaving four people dead.

The storm knocked out power and water supplies, and it dropped 15 inches of rain by early Thursday, according to the weather service in the island Antigua. Associated Press reported that Police Superintendent Daniel Carbon said two children and an elderly blind man died after a mudslide hit the southeast part of the island.

Another man was found dead near his home in Roseau, the capital, after the mudslide. However, the cause of the man’s death has not yet been determined.

Even though the eye of the storm had passed, authorities had not completed a full assessment. Carbon said that there were several injuries reported, but he did not have any details. “We’re advising people to stay put,” Carbon said.

Nearly 80 percent of the island was left without electricity. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over at least one plane and several cars. The scaffolding of some buildings collapsed as well, The Morning Journal reports.

The main river that flows through the capital overflowed and its waters crashed into the principal bridge that leads to the capital. Light poles and trees were all over the road and some streets looked like rivers. Ian Pinard, Dominica’s communication minister, said that the situation was “grim” and “dangerous.”

Ericka was expected to move near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands Thursday and be just north of the Dominican Republic on Friday. The storm is expected to reach South Florida by next week. It is not expected to gain strength in the next couple of days.

The U.S. National Hurricane in Miami stated that the storm was centered 160 miles west of Guadeloupe. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

Ericka will most likely hit the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic and Haiti share, chief forecaster at the National Hurricane Center James Franklin said. Franklin said that this would be “bad news” for the island. “They’re very vulnerable to flooding. And even if Erika is a weak system, that could be very bad there,” Franklin said.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com. Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com