Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

July 10, 2013

TS Chantal targets Dominican Republic, Haiti

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Tropical Storm Chantal threatened to turn into a hurricane while it churned toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti as authorities there and in Puerto Rico warned of possible landslides and heavy flooding.

The storm was located about 270 miles (440 kilometers) southeast of Puerto Rico around 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), and was moving west-northwest at 26 mph (43 kph).

The center issued a hurricane watch for the Dominican Republic’s southern coast, with the storm expected to be near or over the country by Wednesday afternoon. Chantal is then expected to be over the southeastern and central Bahamas on Thursday.

Dominican officials urged those living in low-lying areas to evacuate, but few paid heed.

“We’re sure nothing is going to happen,” said Geovanny Batista, leader of an impoverished community in the capital of Santo Domingo built largely of wood, cardboard and zinc.

“We can’t just go and leave behind our belongings,” he said. “Thieves will come and take them.”

Officials in Haiti encountered similar resistance despite repeated radio warnings.

Street vendor Marc St. Juste said he was unaware a storm was coming, but upon learning the news, he decided to remain outside a bit, if only to sell a few more snow cones in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s congested capital.

“I’m going to go home as soon as possible,” St. Juste said as he pushed his rickety wooden cart topped with frozen ice and colorful syrups. “But I’m still going to stay out to make as many sells as possible.”

Chantal could be near hurricane strength before it reaches Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Both countries are vulnerable to flooding and landslides from storms, but widespread deforestation and ramshackle housing in Haiti mean even moderate rains pose a significant threat.

Haiti is already in the middle of its rainy season, with 279,000 people still living in grim settlements that popped up in the capital and elsewhere after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Meteorologists with AccuWeather also warned that the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico would be hard hit, given that some 13 inches (33 centimeters) of rain already have fallen in the capital of San Juan since June, nearly twice the normal rainfall for that period.

“Much of the landscape is primed for excessive runoff and flooding,” AccuWeather said.

Chantal was expected to produce rain and strong winds in Puerto Rico, with gusts of up to 60 mph (96 kph) in southern and mountainous areas, Krizia Negron, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told The Associated Press. Chantal is expected to pass some 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Puerto Rico early Wednesday, she said.

At least 17 roads will be closed as a preventive measure in the southern mountainous town of Yauco, where some 30 percent of the population lives under zinc roofs, Mayor Abel Nazario told the AP.

“When it rains a lot, a portion of the mountain comes down,” he said. “That’s always a concern.”

Officials in the southern mountain town of San German also warned of possible heavy flooding, given that six rivers run through it, said Mayor Isidro Negron.

Meanwhile, in the popular southwest tourist town of Cabo Rojo, crews cleared branches and debris to prepare for heavy rainfall, said Milton Llitera, the town’s emergency management director.

“When this floods, it doesn’t forgive,” he told the AP.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, a tropical storm warning was in effect for Puerto Rico, the entire coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Vieques and Culebra and central Bahamas.

Up to eight inches (20 centimeters) of rain could fall in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Chantal had raced through the eastern Caribbean early Tuesday, with officials in Dominica reporting that heavy winds ripped off the roofs of several homes. No injuries were reported there or anywhere else in the region.

Chantal also forced Carnival Cruise Lines to change the itineraries of two of its ships, the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Victory, spokesman Vance Gulliksen said.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Palestinian rivals to try again for unity deal

    Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah agreed Wednesday to form a unity government and hold new elections — a potentially historic step toward mending the rift that has split their people between two sets of rulers for seven years.

    April 24, 2014

  • Obama administration weighs clemency for inmates jailed for 10 years

    The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer.

    April 24, 2014

  • Earns Facebook_Stew.jpg Facebook 1Q results soar; CFO to step down

    Facebook’s earnings nearly tripled and revenue grew sharply in the first quarter, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations thanks to an 82 percent increase in advertising revenue.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Georgia Gun Bill_Stew.jpg Gun carry rights expanded in Ga. under new law

    Criticized by one group as the “guns everywhere” bill, Georgia took a big step Wednesday toward expanding where licensed carriers can take their weapons, with the governor signing a law that allows them in bars without restriction and in some churches, schools and government buildings under certain circumstances.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Clemson Spring Game F_Stew.jpg Clemson’s Swinney won’t change after complaint

    Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday he wouldn’t change procedures after the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter of complaint expressing concerns about the football program’s connection to the coach’s Christian religion.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results