- The storm is blamed for 20 deaths on Caribbean's Dominica
- Prime Minister said damage is `monumental,' towns isolated
Tropical Storm Erika, which killed at least 20 people on the small Caribbean island of Dominica, has broken up in the waters off Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
All tropical storm warnings and watches have been dropped across the Caribbean, the center said in its last advisory. Heavy rains from Erika’s remains could still bring flash floods and mud slides in Haiti, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) of rain may fall in Florida starting Sunday.
“Interests in the Bahamas, eastern and central Cuba, and southern Florida should monitor the progress of the remnants of Erika,” the center said.
Erika, the fifth storm of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, killed at least 20 on Dominica and left many others missing, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said in a broadcast Friday posted on his Facebook and Twitter pages. The mountainous island is home to just under 74,000 people and is known for its forests, national parks and eco-tourism resorts.
“The extent of the damage is monumental,” Skerrit said. “Some communities are no longer recognizable.”
The monetary damages caused by Erika are still unknown, Skerrit said. The tiny island’s gross domestic product in 2014 was $538 million, according to the World Bank.
Across Dominica, located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, roads have been washed out, the country’s airport was damaged and towns have been cut off. Skerrit estimated development on the island has been set back 20 years.
Skerrit asked people from the island now living in other countries to send money home to relatives and friends. He also appealed to the international community for help.
The hurricane center is also watching another potential storm off the coast of Africa. It has a 70 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next five days.
In the Pacific, Hawaii is forecast to have hurricanes to its east and west through next week.
Forecasters are watching Hurricane Ignacio with top winds of 90 mph, which is now 785 miles east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii. The storm’s forecast track is to miss the island state just to the east starting Monday.
Tropical Storm Kilo is forecast to reach hurricane strength and pass Hawaii to the west.