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Tropical Storm Erika Makes it’s Way from Dominica to Puerto Rico

Tropical Storm ErikaROSEAU, Dominica – Rescue crews fanned across Dominica late Thursday to search for missing and injured people after Tropical Storm Erika pummeled the eastern Caribbean island, unleashing landslides and killing at least four people.

The storm, which forecasters said could reach Florida as a hurricane on Monday, dumped 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain on the small island as it spun west toward Puerto Rico.

An elderly blind man and two children were killed when a mudslide crashed into their home in the southeast of the island, said Police Chief Daniel Carbon. Another man was found dead near his home in the capital of Roseau after a mudslide, but the cause of death could not be immediately determined, Carbon told The Associated Press.

Police said another 20 people have been reported missing.

“Erika has really, really visited us with a vengeance,” Assistance Police Superintendent Claude Weekes said in a phone interview. “There are many fallen rocks and trees, and water. It’s really chaotic.”

He said crews are trying to reach isolated communities via the ocean because many roads and bridges are impassable.

“We’re going to work throughout the night to see if we can get to the areas,” he said. “There are people missing in different parts of the island.”

Erika was centered about 145 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was moving west at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of to 45 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Erika was expected to move near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday and be near or just north of the Dominican Republic on Friday as it heads toward Florida early next week, possibly as a hurricane.

Chris Landsea, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, said the storm could dissipate if it passed over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico or it could strengthen and pose a potential threat to Florida next week. “The uncertainties are very high,” he said.

As the storm entered the Caribbean, it did the heaviest damage to Dominica, an island of about 72,000 people of lush forests and steep terrain. Authorities were still conducting a full damage assessment after rivers surged over their banks and walls of mud surged into homes.

Read more at foxnews.com

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