Tropical Storm (TS) Beryl has weakened significantly as it moves across the Eastern Caribbean under the watchful eyes and cautious preparations of officials from several islands.
A tropical storm warning had been issued for Dominica, which was battered by Category 5 Hurricane Maria in September of last year. Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in a public address, said Beryl could change track and intensity and therefore people should remain on alert.
“They should not let their guard down,” the prime minister said, adding that people should store water because the government will be shutting down the water system as a preventive measure.
Long lines were reported outside grocery stores on the islands of Dominica, Puerto Rico and other islands as people stock up on food and water, AP reported. Skerrit warned people to respect an islandwide curfew and remain indoors until the storm passes.
TS Beryl crossed over Dominica late Sunday into early Monday with no reports of any damage. The storm was expected to carry between six to 12 inches rain across the Lesser Antilles region, where the islands are still rebuilding from last year’s devastating hurricane season. Beryl was the first named hurricane of the Atlantic season before being downgraded.
Tropical storm watch was also in effect for Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Martin, St. Barts, Barbados, St. Lucia, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency and suspended work for Monday, on the island where Hurricane Maria caused some US$100-billion worth of damage. Rossello warned that the island could experience outages due to its still-vulnerable electricity grid.
The governor also urged people without sturdy roofs to move to one of the 424 shelters.
“There are a lot of Puerto Ricans who are in a vulnerable position,” Rossello said. “We are keeping an eye on this minute by minute. It is not the moment to panic, but it’s the moment to prepare.”
Puerto Rico Health Secretary Rafael Rodriguez added that all those with serious health conditions to seek shelter at health facilities.
A new tropical storm, Chris, formed off the coast of North Carolina coast early on Sunday. The storm is expected to become a hurricane Monday.