Dorian Causes Limited Damage in the Caribbean; Headed for US Mainland

Citizens stock up on gasoline a few hours before the passing of tropical storm Dorian, in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019. Puerto Rico is facing its first major test of emergency preparedness since the 2017 devastation of Hurricane Maria as Tropical Storm Dorian nears the U.S. territory at near-hurricane force. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)

Hurricane Dorian caused limited damage in the northern Caribbean as it left the region and gathered strength late Wednesday, setting its sights on the U.S. mainland as it threatened to grow into a Category 3 storm.

Power outages and flooding were reported across the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra after Dorian hit St. Thomas as a Category 1 storm.

“We’re happy because there are no damages to report,” Culebra Mayor William Solís told The Associated Press, noting that only one community lost power.

Meanwhile, Dorian caused an island-wide blackout in St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and scattered power outages in St. Croix, government spokesman Richard Motta told the AP. In addition, the storm downed trees and at least one electric post in St. Thomas, he said, adding that there were no reports of major flooding so far.

“We are grateful that it wasn’t a stronger storm,” he said.

There were no immediate reports of damage in the British Virgin Islands, where Gov. Augustus Jaspert said crews were already clearing roads and inspecting infrastructure by late Wednesday afternoon.

Dorian had prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a state of emergency Tuesday night and order federal assistance for local authorities.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Dorian was located 45 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said it had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) while moving northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

The Hurricane Center said the storm could grow into a dangerous Category 3 storm as it pushes northwest in the general direction of Florida.

Dennis Feltgen, a Hurricane Center meteorologist in Miami, said Dorian may grow in size and could land anywhere from South Florida to South Carolina on Sunday or Monday.

“This will be a large storm approaching the Southeast,” he said.

Source: Associated Press – Danica Coto