YABUCOA, Puerto Rico (AP) – Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands faced heavy rains and strong winds on Monday. The remnants of the first hurricane of the new season provided a first test of how far they have recovered from the devastating storms of the past year.
Tropical storm Beryl disintegrated after rushing across Dominica and into the eastern Caribbean, but the US National Hurricane Center said the remains could still bring 5 to 8 inches of rain to homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in September. The Forecasters said it could trigger flooding and landslides in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
As early as Monday, failures were reported all over Puerto Rico when Governor Ricardo Rossello called people without permanent roofs to move in with relatives or to go to one of 14 state-run accommodations that opened.
In this Geocolor image, GOES-16 satellite image Sunday, July 8, 2018, at 15:00 UTC, shows Tropical Storm Beryl, center right, across the Lesser Antilles in the Eastern Caribbean, and Tropical Storm Chris, top left, in front of the US East Coast. (NOAA over AP)
Around 60,000 people on US territory still only have plans for roofs that Maria has blown off, and more than 1,500 customers are out of power for more than nine months after the storm.
The Category 5 hurricane caused more than $ 100 billion in damage, killing dozens of people by conservative estimates, and destroying up to 75 percent of power transmission lines.
The National Weather Service issued a warning that Monday morning heavy rain and winds approached more than 80 km / h. The center of the storm was to pass south of the island.
The US Virgin Islands, meanwhile, announced that schools and government offices in St. Croix would be closed.
Beryl, which was the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, lost tropical storm status on late Sunday as it crossed Dominica, another island hit by hurricane Maria, which struck as a Category 5 storm and killed dozens of people.
Marshall Alexander, along with Dominica's Meteorological Service, told the Associated Press that no landslides or floods were reported. A curfew was also lifted.
"In any case, we have spared the worst," he said.
The remnants of the storm should pass just south of Puerto Rico, where persistent winds of 15 to 25 mph (25 to 40 km / h) and gusts of up to 50 mph (80 km / h) could be observed, the meteorologists said. It has also dropped torrential rains in the Virgin Island of St. Croix in the US, where the National Weather Service warned against winds of more than 30 miles per hour and fallen trees and light posts.
Those living near the southern coast of Puerto Rico, the first region to be hit by Mary, were suspicious of the new storm, even though it was no longer a hurricane.
"We are a bit scared because of what we went through," said Jose Bultron, a supplier in the southeastern city of Humacao. "That brings back memories … but we keep going."
Flooding is a big problem for those who still live in houses that have not been completely rebuilt since Mary. Lourdes De Jesus, who traveled from West Springfield, Massachusetts to repair her mother's home in southeast Yabucoa, said the roof is made of tarpaulin and recycled zinc and even licks during a light storm.
"I do not know what we're going to do," she said. "We do not have the money we can spend on zinc roofs."
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Chris was sitting about 320 miles off the coast of Carolinas on Monday. Forecasters expect it to gain hurricane force before putting Gulfstream waters on a path that could cause deadly surf on the beaches of the East Coast this week.
Chris had a peak wind of 60 mph (95 km / h) on Monday morning and was to remain stationary until Tuesday before moving to northeast as a hurricane. It was far enough out to sea that no coastguards or warnings were in place, even for the nearest landfall, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
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