The National Meteorological Office has placed 17 provinces in the Dominican Republic on high alert as tropical storm Earl approaches the island. Overall, more than half of the country is feeling the effects of the storm as it makes its way north. The storm narrowly avoided making landfall in the Dominican Republic on Sunday night, but strong weather conditions are forecast well into Monday.
Although the storm won’t directly impact the Dominican Republic, it caused heavy rain and thunderstorms in large parts of the country on Sunday, with eastern provinces being especially hard-hit. The storm is expected to gradually move away from the island, but its effects will still be felt in many parts of the country on Monday.
With winds of up to 85 kilometers per hour, tropical storm Earl is forecast to cause strong winds and moderate to severe showers on Monday especially in southeastern, southwestern, and northwestern provinces, especially during the late afternoon and evening hours, according to the Onamet weather service.
On Sunday, the National Meteorological Agency increased the number of provinces on alert to 17, covering most of the country. The warning comes as heavy rain, strong winds, and thunderstorms are expected to affect those regions. Some of the affected provinces include Santo Domingo, La Altagracia, La Romana, La Vega, and El Seibo. Overall, the eastern provinces of the country are seeing the strongest weather conditions due to their proximity to the tropical storm.
The country’s weather agency is also warning about the dangerous consequences of bad weather, which may cause rivers and streams to flood quickly. Urban areas may experience landslides and flooding, and tourists should avoid areas that are prone to flooding. Authorities are also asking residents in high-risk weather zones to take precautions and to closely follow weather updates, with flash floods being a major concern.
Landslides and localized flooding are most likely in the following provinces throughout Monday: Gran Santo Domingo, Monte Plata, San Pedro de Macorís, San Cristóbal, La Romana, Hato Mayor, La Altagracia, and El Seibo.
Due to strong gusts of wind, visitors are advised to stay away from coastal areas and beaches, as strong waves and currents can pose a danger. Boaters are also asked to remain as close as possible to the shore to avoid becoming stranded at sea.
Over the past days, meteorologists have also been keeping a close eye on hurricane Danielle, located some 1600 kilometers west of the Azores island, and reaching winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour. However, the hurricane isn’t expected to reach the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic Entering Peak Hurricane Season
This year’s hurricane season was forecast to be unusually strong, but the predictions haven’t turned out to be as bad as initially thought. Over the summer, only a few tropical storms hit the Caribbean country, but meteorologists say there’s still reason for concern as the country heads into the highest-risk phase of the hurricane season.
The period from late August to October usually sees the most hurricanes form over the Atlantic, many of which are likely to affect the Dominican Republic. Meteorologists say that historically, this is when conditions are favorable for the formation of powerful hurricanes. 15 named tropical storms are expected over the following months, and eight are expected to reach hurricane strength.
To protect residents and tourists, the country’s Emergency Operations Centre has set out a contingency plan. While large resorts have their emergency protocol in place, visitors staying at vacation rentals or smaller hotels are recommended to keep a radio on hand should widespread blackouts disrupt TV and internet availability.
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