YABUCOA – Tropical Storm Chris was squatting on Monday about 200 miles (320 kilometres) off the coast of the Carolinas, where forecasters expect it will gain hurricane strength before moving up Gulfstream waters on a path that could cause life-threatening surf on East Coast beaches this week.
Meanwhile, the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl dissipated after rushing over Dominica, but forecasters said strong gusty winds and locally heavy rains could reach Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Haiti and the Dominican Republic Monday night, possibly causing flooding or mudslides.
Chris had top winds of 60 mph (95 kph) at 5 a.m. Monday, and was expected to remain nearly stationary through Tuesday before moving northeastward as a hurricane. It was far enough out to sea that no coastal watches or warnings were in effect, even for the closest point of land, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Beryl had been the Atlantic season’s first hurricane, but it disintegrated shortly before reaching Dominica, where many people still shelter under tarps on their roofs more than nine months after Hurricane Maria hit as a Category 5 storm and killed dozens of people. The storm’s remnants crossed directly over the island with top sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), and was expected to drop up to 3 inches (8 centimetres) of rain, with as much as 5 inches (13 centimetres) in isolated spots.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged people to stay inside and observe a curfew.
“Our hope is that we get a little rain,” he said Sunday night. “That’s what we’re praying for.”
Some 60,000 people also still have only tarps for roofs in Puerto Rico, also suffered widespread damage from Hurricane Maria. Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged people without sturdy roofs to move in with relatives or to one of 24 government shelters.
“We’re a little bit scared because of what we’ve been through,” said Jose Bultron, a delivery man in the southeast town of Humacao. “This brings back memories … but we forge ahead.”
Flooding is a big concern for those still living in homes that have not been fully rebuilt since Maria. Lourdes De Jesus, who travelled from West Springfield, Massachusetts, to help repair her mother’s house in southeast Yabucoa, said the roof consists of tarp and recycled zinc and leaks even during a light storm.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said. “We don’t have the money to spend on zinc roofing.”