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Hurricane Maria: Aftermath for Dominican Republic

While for the most part the Dominican Republic was spared the brunt of Category 5 Hurricane Maria as it moved west from Puerto Rico, the large size of the storm brought flooding and damage caused by rain bands and winds.

The forecasted path of the storm was maintained, and local forecasters also proved right. Onamet forecaster Francisco Holguin as early as Wednesday, 20 September 2017, had alerted of flash flooding given the size of the storm. He had warned the aftermath, not the storm itself would bring damage to the Dominican Republic.

Flooding, fallen trees and light posts have affected towns and cities despite the eye of the storm being well to the north of the country. Social media and WhatsApp chats have enabled many people to report and follow the effects of the storm.

The DR1 Storm Chat on WhatsApp and on the DR1 Hurricane thread on the DR1 Forums early on Thursday, 21 September 2017, with the eye exiting, warned that the southern part of the storm would be bringing lots of rain and strong winds that are still over the Caribbean Sea.

“This type of storm is not a dot on Windy [the online weather site], it is a complex system covering and affecting an area several times the size of the Dominican Republic,” alerted the resident weather forecaster, who operates a sport fishing business in Punta Cana and posts on the DR1 Forum as MikeFisher. He explained the southern part of the storm was still south of the country, thus generating the bad weather when everyone could see the eye of the storm had moved well north.

The recommendation on Thursday continued to be to stay away from flood prone areas, rivers or areas prone to mudslides through Friday, 22 September.

On Thursday, 21 September 2017, the Emergency Operations Center (COE) had declared 23 of the 32 Dominican provinces and the National District on red alert. One aging 78-year old man in Higuey municipality in the east was reported disappeared when he did not heed the advice and is known to have attempted to cross a flooding stream. Another person, identified as 32-year old Antonio Miranda, in Espaillat on the north coast, who died instantly when the roof of his dwelling collapsed during a mudslide.

Reports from Santo Domingo related that with schools, government and most businesses closed on Thursday, Santo Domingo seemed like a ghost town, with most of the public transport also stopped, including the Santo Domingo Metro. During the Hurricane, weather permitting, several Omsa government buses ran on their usual long routes with service free on Thursday. The Ministry of Education ordered all schools nationwide to remain closed on Friday.

Nevertheless, the capital city of Santo Domingo was not affected by significant power outages, as occurred in other areas of the country. A light drizzle, and occasional wind gusts reminded residents there was a storm in the neighborhood.

In Santo Domingo, social media shared videos of the Santo Domingo Country Club in western Santo Domingo that was flooded as waters of a nearby creek swept through the social club. Otherwise, in Santo Domingo on Thursday evening several fast food restaurants and restaurants (Taco Bell, included) opened with a good showing of their clientele.

From Punta Cana, tourists at hotels were relocated to second floors and areas safe from flooding for Wednesday and Thursday, while hurricane protocols were implemented. Large numbers of staff remained at the resorts when impeded to return to their homes by the storm. In some cases hotel staff waited out the storms in the conference rooms prepared for them and reportedly killed time playing dominoes.

In the East, the old Higuey to Veron road is closed to traffic as Higuey municipality and Ministry of Public Works crews help clear debris primarily from fallen trees. A key bridge on the route also collapsed and will need to be repaired. Traffic on the main Coral Highway route between La Romana and Punta Cana (including Higuey) was not affected.

Reports are of hurricane storm wind gusts, heavy rain hitting the area. The Cap Cana Marina proved to be the safe place to dock boats. Two catamarans and speedboats left at sea were said to have sunk. In populated areas, light posts and trees were down. There was a show of lots of solidarity as neighbors gathered to share a meal, and help neighbors to repair damage.

In La Romana, reports are that the Chavón River swelled and pushed a wide span of muddy water to the sea. Some signs are down in the city.

In Puerto Plata, the focus was on the erosion at Playa Alicia in Sosua and the high tide that slurped at Cabarete Beach. There are reports of flooding of the waters of Boba River and Yasica River in the north. Communities in northwestern Mao and Esperanza were also said to have been affected by flash floods and the opening of the floodgates of Tavera and Monción dams. Farms are expected to be affected by the flooding waters.

A major 16-vehicle car crash was reported on Duarte Highway on Thursday.

Source: DR1, 7dias

Sep 22, 2017

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 17, 2017 at 1:23 AM
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