Cristobal's pelting rains lash Bahamas after rushing rivers sweep three away on Hispaniola
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 3:47 PM -
Slow-moving Tropical Storm Cristobal lashed parts of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands with heavy rainfall and white-crested surf after swollen rivers swept at least three people away on the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
In the Dominican Republic, a man drowned when he tried to drive his pickup truck across a rushing river in Hato Mayor, a province northeast of the capital of Santo Domingo. Juan Manuel Mendez, the country's emergency operations director, said the death was due to the "regrettable recklessness of this driver.''
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In neighbouring Haiti, authorities were looking for two residents reported swept away late Saturday by a river that burst its banks in the western port town of Saint Marc.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Cristobal may strengthen into a hurricane on Wednesday while over the open waters of the Atlantic. The storm's centre was expected to curve away from the U.S. East Coast.
On Sunday, Turks and Caicos Premier Rufus Ewing advised residents to remain indoors as much as possible since the island chain south of the Bahamas was still experiencing heavy rains and "extensive flooding in low-lying areas,'' especially on Middle Caicos and North Caicos islands.
"The inclement weather is expected to linger for another 48 hours and the flooding is expected to worsen as a result,''
Ewing said in a statement. Cristobal, which formed as a tropical depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday, was the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The Hurricane Hunters took this pic yesterday when they flew through what is now Tropical Storm Cristobal. pic.twitter.com/EotEZXtYrb— Patrick Ellis (@PatrickEllisWx) August 24, 2014
The tropical storm had sustained winds near 75 km/h and was located about 240 km east-northeast of the Bahamas' Long Island early Sunday afternoon.
The slow-moving storm was tracking north at about 7 mph 11 km/h. U.S. forecasters said there should be a decrease in forward speed over the next couple of days, meaning Cristobal's centre is expected to move near to or east of the central Bahamas through Monday.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Turks and Caicos Islands and for the southeast and central Bahamas, with forecasters saying it could bring up to 8 inches 200 mm of rain to the islands through Tuesday.
With files from The Associated Press