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  • Remnant of Tropical Storm Beryl sweeps onto Dominica

, In this geocolor image GOES-16 satellite image taken Sunday, July 8, 2018, at 15:00 UTC, shows Tropical Storm Beryl, center right, moving across the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and Tropical Storm Chris, top left, off the U.S. East Coast. (NOAA via AP)

09 of July 2018 00:05:19

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The remnant of Tropical Storm Beryl swept over the tiny island of Dominica on Sunday evening as forecasters in the eastern Caribbean warned of the dangers from heavy rains on islands struggling to recover from last year's deadly hurricanes.

Dominica's government had said it would shut down the water system, while Puerto Rico's governor warned of likely new power outages. People on islands across the region had rushed to stock up on food and water and prepared for possible damaging winds, rains and waves.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 centimeters) of rain could fall on Dominica, with up to 5 inches (13 centimeters) possible in spots.

Beryl, which had been the Atlantic season's first hurricane, disintegrated as a tropical storm shortly before reaching Dominica. But the hurricane center said it still had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) as it zipped over Dominica moving west-northwestward at 26 mph (43 kph).

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit warned people to stay alert and respect an island-wide curfew to remain indoors.

"We have to continue to take the situation very seriously," he said in a public address.

Meteorologist Marshall Alexander told The Associated Press that officials were worried about people still living with tarps on their roofs after Hurricane Maria slammed into Dominica as a Category 5 storm last year, killing dozens of people.

"We are in a vulnerable state," he said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Chris formed off the Carolinas, and the U.S. hurricane center said it was likely to grow into a hurricane while heading to the northeast, roughly parallel to the coast. It wasn't projected to directly threaten land over the next few days, though forecasters said it could kick up dangerous surf and rip tides.

In the Caribbean, a tropical storm watch was up for Dominica and long lines were reported at grocery stores on several islands as people shopped for food and water.

"We can't take chances with weather," Jeffrey Xavier, manager of the Mr. Clean Bed & Breakfast in Dominica, said in a phone interview. "There was a lot of buying."

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that the island could experience power outages when the storm's remnants passed over on Monday. He also urged people without sturdy roofs to move in with relatives or one of 24 government shelters that have opened. More than 1,500 power customers remain in the dark more than nine months after Maria, and some 60,000 people still have only tarps for roofs.

"I'm praying for all the brothers who are still living under a plastic roof," said Alfonso Lugo in the southeastern Puerto Rico town of Humacao. "They're the ones who are suffering the most now. They're the ones who have been forgotten."

Lugo lost his roof and two walls to Maria and was waiting for volunteers to secure his new roof before Beryl.

Forecasters said Puerto Rico could see winds of 15 to 25 mph (25 to 40 kph) as well as 2 to 3 inches (5 to eight 8) of rain that could cause flooding and mudslides.

The hurricane center said there was a possibility that Beryl's remnants could regenerate into a tropical cyclone in a few days while moving across the Bahamas.

Off the U.S. East Coast, Tropical Storm Chris was centered about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). It was expected to remain almost stationary over the next few days before growing to hurricane force and moving to the northeast.


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