Things That Matter

Tropical Storm Dorian Could Hit Puerto Rico And People On The Island Aren’t Taking Any Chances

The Atlantic Hurricane season has been off to a slow start in 2019 and residents of Puerto Rico couldn’t be more thankful. After a devastating season in 2017, which included Hurricane Maria, the island is still in crisis mode trying to rebuild.

Many island residents are still without 24/7 access to electricity while many others are still living in makeshift homes or buildings without proper roofing.

So news that a powerful tropical storm, which could strengthen into a hurricane, has many boricuas on edge.

Another menacing storm is on track to slam the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, an island still grappling with the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Tropical Storm Dorian is strengthening as it moves westward towards the Caribbean, and could reach hurricane strength by early Thursday, possibly before hitting Puerto Rico.

As of Monday morning, Dorian is considered a “small tropical cyclone.” It’s just over 130 miles from Barbados, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. It’s moving at approximately 14 mph towards the Windward Islands, which are expected to face tropical storm conditions later Monday. 

Tropical storm watches and warnings are in effect for the area, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The storm system has intensified as it churns towards several Caribbean islands.

“Hurricane watches and tropical storm watches and warnings have been issued for parts of the Leeward and Windward Islands, where Dorian is expected move through on Tuesday morning,” meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

“The storm is still forecast to be a hurricane as it approaches Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and Thursday.”

By the end of the week, what’s left of Dorian is expected to move toward the Bahamas and possibly southeastern parts of the mainland US. 

“But it is still way too early to forecast impacts,” Hennen said.

The storm is forecast to hit the Lesser Antilles as a strong tropical storm.

Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Tropical storm watches have been issued for Dominica, Martinique and Grenada and its dependencies. A hurricane watch has been issued for St. Lucia.

The NHC also issued a warning for mariners, swimmers and surfers, saying that swells triggered by the storm around the Lesser Antilles could cause “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” by late Monday.

It’s too early to tell for certain whether Dorian will hit Puerto Rico or other islands further west, and how strong of a storm it might be when and if it does. But the NHC says it’s monitoring the storm closely and “watches could be required later today.”

It was just under two years ago that Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria,which led to the deaths of close to 3,000 people.

The island remains in crisis almost two years after Hurricane Maria, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, killed almost 3,000 people in September 2017.

Puerto Rico’s power grid, which was destroyed, remains severely compromised, and with its electric utility more than $9 billion in debt, the island’s new governor earlier this month suspended a $450,000 contractthat was to have been part of the rebuilding program.

Dorian’s arrival also comes as Puerto Rico is suffering from what is perhaps the worst political crisis in its history. 

Governor Ricardo Rosselló resigned late last month amid historic demonstrations after hundreds of offensive chats between him and his top advisers were published, some of which made light of the deaths from Maria. 

And since then, the island has seen two more governors. Many are asking with all this distraction will the island be prepare for a potentially life-threatening storm. 

Puerto Ricans aren’t taking any chance with many already stocking up on supplies.

After the devastation that rocked the island after Hurricane Maria, many residents suffer from PTSD. Many are taking zero chances with this storm and have stormed local supermarkets to stock up on water, foods, batteries, and other important supplies. 

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