DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Whether Tropical Storm Ericka grows into a full-blown hurricane or fizzles over the Carribean once she gets closer to Florida next week after finishing the pounding of Puerto Rico, officials here in Daytona Beach are not taking any chances.
In anticipation of Erika’s arrival, Volusia County plans a partial activation of its Emergency Operations Center Saturday morning to get the process started, spokeswoman Pat Kuehn told HeadlineSurfer.com.
"The EOC will be fully activated Sunday to serve as the central coordination center for emergency response," Kuehn stressed. "Key disaster response officials from the county, municipalities and support agencies will convene in the EOC to make strategic decisions to protect the public. Residents are urged to stay tuned to local media outlets to receive storm updates."
Headlineurfer.com will pass along EOC updates from Kuehn and other county official on dury throughout the eekend and into next week as well as bulletins from the National Weather Service out of Melbourne.
Ericka was expected to dump up to 12 inches (31 centimeters) of rain across portions of the drought-stricken northern Caribbean as it carved a path toward the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Forecasters said Erika might fall apart over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico or possibly strengthen into a hurricane as it nears South Florida early next week, according to the AP.
Erika was located about 145 miles (235 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was moving west at 12 mph (19 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Bearing down on Puerto Rico and Dominica
Authorities in Puerto Rico closed certain roads in anticipation of numerous landslides, while rescue crews fanned across Dominica overnight to search for missing and injured people, the AP reported.
"Erika has really, really visited us with a vengeance," Assistance Police Superintendent Claude Weekes said by phone. "There are many fallen rocks and trees, and water. It's really chaotic."
Some 20 people were missing in Dominica, where authorities said an elderly blind man and two children died when a mudslide hit their home in the island's southeast region. Another man was found dead near his home in the capital of Roseau after a mudslide, but the cause of death could not be immediately determined. Police in the lush and mountainous island of Dominica expected to reach isolated communities via the ocean because of impassable roads and bridges.
The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency also pledged assistance, the AP reported. Ronald Jackson, the agency's executive director, said in a phone interview that at least two helicopters would arrive early Friday in Dominica carrying supplies and two medics from Trinidad.
The storm approached Puerto Rico overnight Thursday, prompting Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla to activate the National Guard as a precaution, the AP said, adding, officials noted the storm's outer bands had already downed several trees and power lines across the U.S. territory and caused small landslides.
Some 18,000 people were without power, with widespread power outages reported on the popular sister island of Culebra late Thursday. Garcia told the AP schools and government offices would remain closed on Friday as he warned people to stay indoors.
"We don't want to report any deaths," Garcia said. "Use utmost precaution." The storm is expected to move near or over the Dominican Republic on Friday as it heads toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas.
Voluia County taking no chances: Sandbags readied
Beginning today and continuing through the weekend, Volusia County’s Public Works Department will provide free sand and bags to county residents from 7 a.m. to dusk.
Residents should bring shovels and be prepared to fill and transport bags. Materials are available at these Public Works offices:
Posted Fri, 2015-08-28 02:14
Posted Fri, 2015-08-28 03:41