Thursday, September 16, 2004

Hurricane Jeanne slamming the Dominican Republic


Tropical Storm Jeanne became a hurricane on September 16, 2004, raising the threat to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and hundreds of islands in the northern Caribbean. Jeanne's sustained winds grew to 80 mph as it walloped Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that is home to about 4 million people, and the Dominican Republic. This satellite image shows Jeanne (bottom right) and Hurricane Ivan (top left) (NOAA via Reuters)

Jeanne's sustained winds grew to 80 mph as it walloped Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that is home to about 4 million people, and the Dominican Republic.

Residents on the north coast of Haiti, the poor nation of 8 million that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, were warned to expect tropical storm conditions. Haiti has been largely deforested and is vulnerable to deadly flash floods and mudslides.

The southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos, a British colony, were also under storm alerts.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the center of the storm was over the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic at latitude 18.7 north and longitude 68.4 west, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

It was moving due west at about 9 mph and was expected to turn slightly, toward the west-northwest, in the next 24 hours, forecasters said.

Forecasters said the Dominican Republic, where nearly 9 million people live, could expect up to 13 inches of rain that could trigger floods and mudslides.

The soggy system, which struck Puerto Rico as a tropical storm, dumped more than a foot of rain on the island and sent many rivers to flood levels.

Jeanne was the 10th tropical storm of the busy Atlantic hurricane season and became the sixth to turn into a hurricane. The average season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, has about 10 tropical storms.

Jeanne became a hurricane as Ivan pounded the U.S. Gulf Coast after slamming ashore in Alabama with winds of 130 mph. Ivan has killed at least 70 people.