Tropical Storm Erika has brought extreme rain to Dominica, a tropical island in the Caribbean, leading to the death of four people, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The storm has been wreaking havoc on the island since Wednesday, causing mud slides and flooding.
"Our primary concern at the moment is for the preservation of life in Dominica," Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit wrote on social media, CNN reported. "We are now going to be focused on a search-and-rescue mission. We will focus on infrastructure after."
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency said that 25 to 30 people were missing. Floods wiped out roads and villages, and there has been extensive damage to the country’s airports. Eighty percent of the island was without electricity and water supply was cut off.
— BajanReporter.com (@bajanreporter) August 27, 2015
Erika was expected to produce four to eight inches of rain with a maximum of 12 across the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeast Bahamas through Saturday. The storm dumped nine inches of rain on Dominica late Wednesday and another six inches early Thursday.
“The situation is grim. It is dangerous," said Ian Pinard, Dominica's communications minister, the Associated Press reported.
Some relief from the downpour on Dominica is expected to come Thursday night, but a tropical storm warning remained in effect as of 5 p.m. EST that included islands from Anguilla to Hispaniola. The storm is expected to pass the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Thursday night, according to CNN. Erika is expected to reach Florida as a hurricane by Monday. The last hurricane to hit the Sunshine State was Hurricane Wilma in 2005, AccuWeather.com reported.
"This is a good time for residents of the Bahamas and Florida to review hurricane plans," said AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather.com reported. "If Erika does indeed target Florida, there will be a big rush to complete preparations this weekend. However, it takes time to do some things such as moving boats from marinas to safety."