19 provinces in the Dominican Republic have been put on high alert as tropical storm Fiona quickly moves towards the island. The storm is expected to make landfall on Monday, although severe weather is expected to affect large parts of the country on Sunday. Many of the country’s popular resort destinations – including Punta Cana and Samaná – are forecast to be especially hard-hit by the tropical storm.
Onamet, the Dominican Republic’s Meteorological Agency, has issued weather warnings for 19 provinces due to potentially severe weather, including heavy rain, wind, and thunderstorms. Meteorologists say that the first signs of the fast-approaching storm will reach the country on Saturday, with the worst weather expected late Sunday and Monday morning, lasting until early Tuesday.
As a result, the Centre for Operations and Emergencies (COE) has placed 12 provinces on yellow alert – the second-highest warning level – and 7 on the least-severe green alert. Areas under the weather alert are at risk of experiencing severe rain, thunderstorms, and winds, as well as flash flooding and landslides. As a result, people in affected provinces should remain cautious and follow authorities’ instructions.
Several popular tourist destinations including Samaná, La Romana, Altagracia (Punta Cana), El Seibo, and Gran Santo Domingo are under yellow alert.
Gloria Ceballos, the director of the country’s weather service, says that wind speeds of up to 85 kilometers per hour are expected as the tropical storm sweeps across the Caribbean towards the U.S. With a precipitation of between 100 and 200 millimeters, and up to 400 millimeters in parts of the country, heavy downpours are forecast to cause localized flooding.
The tropical storm is expected to strengthen as it moves closer to the Dominican Republic, and there is a high likelihood that the storm will reach hurricane-level winds between Sunday night and Monday morning. Meanwhile, authorities from the U.S-based National Hurricane Center are also analyzing the tropical storm as it makes its way across the Caribbean.
Meteorologists are warning residents and visitors about the potentially deadly consequences of the tropical storm, which may cause flash flooding in urban areas, as well as landslides. The latter is especially worrisome in mountainous and hilly areas, according to the weather service.
Officials are keeping a close eye on the storm, which may strengthen significantly over the following 72 hours. As a result, authorities are urging residents to keep an eye on the weather forecast, as well as await instructions from authorities should the situation deteriorate.
The weather forecast agency says that Saturday will mark the first day of moderate to severe weather, with localized rain showers, thunderstorms, and gusts of wind, especially in the evening and night.
Fiona is the sixth named tropical storm of this year’s hurricane season. Two weeks ago, tropical storm Earl caused heavy rain, wind, and lightning in the eastern provinces of the Dominican Republic, although no severe material damages were reported.
Take These Precautions During A Tropical Storm
If you are planning to travel to the Dominican Republic over the following days, check your hotel and airline’s cancellation policy, which usually allows visitors to postpone their trip. Visitors are also recommended to have solid travel insurance which covers weather-related accidents.
However, if you are unfortunate enough to be in the country and a powerful tropical storm hits, follow these important steps. First, familiarize yourself with your hotel or resort’s tropical storm or hurricane protocol. Many large resorts have plans in place to protect tourists in case a severe storm develops.
Second, closely follow weather updates from Onamet or the National Hurricane Center, and avoid going outdoors if a storm alert is issued. If you are outside during severe weather, seek shelter and avoid open water and rivers.
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