Erika lashes Dominica
ROSEAU, Dominica (AP):
Tropical Storm Erika pounded the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica yesterday, unleashing flooding and mudslides that killed at least four people and knocked out power and water supplies.
The storm, which was forecast to reach Florida as a hurricane by Monday, dumped 23 centimetres of rain on Dominica late Wednesday, followed by another 15 centimetres early Thursday, according to the weather service in the nearby island of Antigua.
Police Superintendent Daniel Carbon said three of the deaths occurred during a mudslide in the southeast of the island. Authorities recovered the bodies of an elderly blind man and two children from the home.
A fourth death occurred in the capital of Roseau. The man was found near his home following a mudslide, but the cause of death has not yet been determined, Carbon told The Associated Press.
Even though the eye had passed, heavy wind and rain were still buffeting the island known for its lush forests and steep terrain, and authorities had yet to do a full damage assessment.
"We're advising people to stay put," Carbon said, adding that they have received reports of several injuries but that he had no details.
About 80 per cent of the island was without electricity, and water supply was cut off, authorities said. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over cars and at least one small plane, and the scaffolding of some buildings collapsed.
The main river that cuts through the capital overflowed its banks and surging water crashed into the principal bridge that leads into Roseau, whose roads were littered with fallen trees and light poles. Some streets were turned into fast-flowing rivers.
"The situation is grim. It is dangerous," said Ian Pinard, Dominica's communications minister.