Daily Journal masthead

Tropical Storm Erika nears Antigua and Barbuda en route to Puerto Rico

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A fast-moving Tropical Storm Erika neared Antigua and Barbuda early Thursday, dumping rain on the eastern Caribbean on a path expected to take it by Puerto Rico later in the day.

Across the region, officials ordered schools, airports and even casinos to close and they prepared shelters ahead of the storm, which was no expected to strengthen over the next two days.

Late Wednesday night, Erika was located about 110 miles (175 kilometers) east-southeast of Antigua and was moving west at 16 mph (26 kph) with maximum sustained of 45 mph (75 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Authorities in Antigua and Barbuda warned of flash floods given the extremely dry conditions caused by the worst drought to hit the Caribbean in recent years. Boats at Shell Beach Marina on Antigua's north coast have been out of the water since Saturday, with people not taking chances as Erika approaches, said Caroline Davy, a marina employee.

She said many people were caught off-guard when Tropical Storm Gonzalo battered Antigua last October.

"Too many times we've seen things happen that were not predicted," she said.

Authorities in the nearby Dutch Caribbean territory of St. Maarten said schools and government offices would close Thursday. They also asked that casinos, restaurants and other businesses close by midnight Wednesday. Officials warned they might temporarily suspend power and water service as the storm approaches.

PHOTO: James Franklin, chief hurricane forecaster, looks at an image of Tropical Storm Erika as it moves westward towards islands in the eastern Caribbean, at the National Hurricane Center, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Miami. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the Leeward islands. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
James Franklin, chief hurricane forecaster, looks at an image of Tropical Storm Erika as it moves westward towards islands in the eastern Caribbean, at the National Hurricane Center, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Miami. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the Leeward islands. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The hurricane center said Erika would move near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday.

All airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands would be closed to incoming flights until Friday, and government offices would close as well, said Gov. Kenneth Mapp.

"This is a fast-moving storm, and so we expect conditions to deteriorate rapidly," he said.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands. A tropical storm watch was in effect for the northern Dominican Republic, the Turks & Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas.

The storm is expected to be near South Florida by Monday, according to James Franklin, chief hurricane forecaster at the Miami-based center. But its intensity is still uncertain.

"We don't know how much of the storm will be left," he said, adding that it faces strong upper-level westerly winds in the next two to three days.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Ignacio strengthened into a hurricane. The storm's maximum sustained winds increased to 75 mph (120 kph).

Hurricane Ignacio was centered about 1,275 miles (2,055 kilometers) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and was moving west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kph).


Associated Press reporter Judy Fitzpatrick in Philipsburg, St. Maarten contributed to this report.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow Daily Journal:

All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.