Tropical Storm Erika Causes Fatalities in Dominica; Puerto Rico on High Alert

Tropical Storm Erika has claimed its first victims in Dominica. // Photo courtesy of AccuWeather.com.

The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that Tropical Storm Erika, which has been anticipated to cause heavy damage in the Caribbean for the past few days, has claimed its first victims. 

According to the AP, Tropical Storm Erika lashed Puerto Rico early Friday with heavy rains and wind after killing four people and causing devastating floods in the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, where several people remained missing. On Thursday, AccuWeather.com reported that a flooding disaster has occurred on Dominica. 

On Thursday, AccuWeather reported that Erika will bring torrential rain, flash flooding, mudslides and gusty winds to many of the northern islands of the Caribbean, prior to taking a turn toward The Bahamas and Florida this weekend. 

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According to AccuWeather, the greatest threat to lives and property will be from flash flooding and mudslides. A general rainfall of 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) is forecast with locally higher amounts. On Puerto Rico and the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic, rainfall of 4-8 inches (150-200 mm) is likely with greater amounts falling on the mountains.

Winds will average between 40 and 60 mph (64 to 95 kph), with higher gusts. Seas will be dangerous for bathers and boaters. Winds of this strength can down trees, cause sporadic power outages and damage roofs and poorly built structures.

Cruise Ships Change Itineraries

The storm has also forced several cruise lines to update their schedules. 

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that the Carnival Ecstasy, which departs August 28, will now call at Nassau from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and have a day at sea on Sunday. 

"At this time, no other changes have been made to all other ships sailing this weekend," Carnival said in a statement. "We will continue to keep you informed should there be any further updates."

Royal Caribbean International has said that the August 30 sailing of Independence of the Seas will now depart Port Everglades at 3:00 p.m. Check in and boarding will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Royal Caribbean also encouraged guests sailing on Adventure of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, and Freedom of the Seas to monitor its website for any additional updates.

"If you have not done so already, we strongly suggest guests complete their online check-in as soon as possible, including the section on your preferred method of contact while traveling," the line said in its statement.

Guests can access online check-in at www.royalcaribbean.com/onlinecheckin.

Finally, Norwegian Cruise Line said that it will adjust itineraries for Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Gem and Norwegian Sky as follows: 

  • Norwegian Getaway’s itinerary for the August 29 sailing from Miami will now call in Cozumel, Mexico, on Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nassau, Bahamas, on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Norwegian Gem’s itinerary for her sailing departing on August 29 will call on the Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda, arriving on Monday at 8 a.m. and remaining until Wednesday at 5 p.m.
  • Norwegian Sky, the cruise line's short cruise product, will depart August 28, from Miami as normal, but now call in Nassau, Bahamas, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Key West, FL, on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on this story. And be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike.

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