SANTO DOMINGO/HAVANA (Reuters) – Thousands of people in the Dominican Republic were left without electricity or running water on Thursday in the wake of Tropical Storm Fred, which weakened to a depression as it grazed the northern coast of Cuba on track to Florida.
High winds downed power lines and rain flooded parts of the southern coast, forcing shut parts of the aqueduct, which supplies water across the island. This, along with rubble on the roads, has cut off 41 communities, the Dominican National Emergency Operations Center said.
It was not immediately apparent when running water and power would be returned. No victims have yet been reported, authorities said.
The capital Santo Domingo and five other provinces of the southern coast remained on high alert given forecasts of heavy rain for another day in the wake of Fred, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Residents of Santo Domingo suburbs bordering the swollen Ozama and Isabela rivers used mops and buckets to remove water from their homes.
Cuba’s meteorology institute said on Thursday afternoon the depression was advancing in a northwest direction just off the island’s northeast coast with maximum sustained winds of 55 km (34 miles). More rain and storm surges are forecast for the eastern and central regions of Cuba, it said.
Cuba and the eastern Bahamas could expect 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) of rainfall, the National Hurricane Center (NHC)in Miami said in its 1700 ET forecast.
Fred is expected to move along or just north of eastern and central Cuba tonight and Friday, regaining tropical storm strength as it nears the Florida Keys and southern Florida on Saturday, the NHC said.
There, it would dump 3 to 6 inches of rain, with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches.
Fred is the first named storm in a month in the Atlantic. In early July, Hurricane Elsa killed at least three people and damaged infrastructure and agriculture in Caribbean island nations east of Cuba.
(Reporting by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez in Santo Domingo and Sarah Marsh in Havana; Editing by Karishma Singh)