SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The remnant of Tropical Storm Beryl swept over Dominica on Sunday night then dissipated, easing the threat to other eastern Caribbean islands recovering from last year’s deadly hurricanes.
The storm crossed directly over Dominica more than nine months after Hurricane Maria hit the island as a Category 5 storm and killed dozens of people.
There were no immediate reports on any damage on Dominica from the latest storm.
Dominica’s government had said it would shut down the water system during the storm’s pass as a precautionary measure to lessen possible damage. People on the island, as well as elsewhere in the region, had rushed to stock up on food and water and prepare for the threat of damaging winds, rains and waves.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the remnants of Beryl would move south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Monday. It said winds would fall below gale force during the night, but people on area islands should be alert for possible heavy rain that could cause flooding or mudslides.
Puerto Rico’s governor had feared new power outages if Beryl passed near his island as a tropical storm as originally forecast. But Beryl, which had been the Atlantic season’s first hurricane, disintegrated as a tropical storm shortly before reaching Dominica.
The hurricane centre said Beryl’s remnant had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) late Sunday and was moving west-northwestward at 26 mph (43 kph). It said the system could still drop up to 2 to 3 inches (5 to eight 8) of rain, with as much as 5 inches (13 centimetres) in isolated spots.
To the north, Tropical Storm Chris formed off the Carolinas, and the hurricane centre said it was likely to grow into a hurricane Monday while staying offshore. 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.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had warned people to respect an island-wide curfew and remain indoors.
Meteorologist Marshall Alexander told The Associated Press that officials were worried about people still living with tarps on their roofs after Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello also urged people without sturdy roofs to move in with relatives or one of 24 government shelters that had opened. 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.”
Lugo lost his roof and two walls to Maria and was waiting for volunteers to secure his new roof before Beryl.
Off the U.S. East Coast, Tropical Storm Chris has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was centred about 195 miles (315 kilometres) south-southeast of Cape Hatteras. It was moving to east-southeast at 2 mph (4 kph).
The hurricane centre said there was a possibility that Beryl’s remnants could regenerate into a tropical cyclone in a few days while moving across the Bahamas.