Authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sunday urged residents to prepare for heavy winds, rain and damage as Tropical Storm Karen rolled toward islands still recovering from the devastation of historic Hurricane Maria two years ago.
The National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Karen is expected to approach on Tuesday, its exact path as yet undetermined. Maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph with higher gusts.
Karen will gradually intensify early this week, bringing an uptick in downpours and locally gusty winds as it approaches, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski said.
Still, the storm is a blip on the weather map compared to the ferocity of Maria. But the island’s power grid remains unstable, and hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans live in housing still in disrepair from the fury of Maria’s 175-mph winds and rampant flooding.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced said an emergency management plan has been activated across the island of 3.2 million people.
“I urge citizens to be calm but vigilant and update their family plan,” Vázquez posted on Twitter.
The island’s emergency management agency posted a similar warning: “Remember that keeping calm and being informed is essential to make the best decisions in times of emergency.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon