Strengthening storm kills 6 in the Dominican Republic
The system, which was moving south of the country in the Caribbean Sea, knocked down power lines Sunday near the northeastern town of Nagua and started a fire that killed six passengers on a bus filled with people returning from a beach excursion. At least 12 others on board were injured, according to Diego Pesqueira, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Conditions from the system may have also caused a tour boat to overturn near the Samana Peninsula on Sunday. Authorities recovered the bodies of three people and said four others were still missing. Military spokesman Arsenio Maldonado said a small craft advisory was in effect at the time but a cause of the incident has not yet been determined.
The Dominican Emergency Operations Center said that 19 of the 32 provinces were on alert for potential flooding as the system continued to pass south of the country.
The Jamaica Meteorological Service advised small vessels to return to shore as the storm moved west with strong winds and heavy rain. It said that flash flooding is likely across the island as a result of the storm, especially in low-lying areas in southern Jamaica.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the system appeared to be on a track toward Central America. If the system strengthens, it could be upgraded to Tropical Storm Earl.
The director of the State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management (Aemead by its Spanish acronym) in Puerto Rico, Ángel Crespo, said Sunday that the passage of the tropical wave produced only minimal damage, but urged people to stay alert.
“There are no closed public roads. We have all primary agencies working…and we know our priority is to ensure transportation, safety and health,” Crespo said in a radio message broadcast from the Emergency Operations Center.
He added that electric power service was interrupted for a few minutes at Vieques’ Diagnostic and Treatment Center and that a sector in Fajardo also reported service interruption.
“We know that our system is susceptible to this type of event, and having sustained winds of 20 to 25 miles per hour and gusts of 32 miles per hour reported in some sectors, we could definitely be reporting some sectors without service throughout the day,” he said earlier Sunday.
Transportation Secretary Miguel Torres said that the agency’s regional directors hadn’t reported any major landslides or mudslides. However, the Police Department reported a landslide in PR-111 in Utuado, and flooding in PR-185 in Carolina.
Crespo said no evacuations were carried out and that no change in government operations or schools, where teachers start working Monday, have been notified.
For any related emergency, contact the Municipal Emergency Management Office at 787-480-2222 or dial 9-1-1.
Combined news services were used for this report.