As Tropical Storm Bertha bears down on Dominica, residents in some parts of the island are beginning to report heavy rains and high winds.
Most of those reports are coming from communities on the South of the Island such as Soufriere, Scotts Head, Galleon, Grandbay and Petite Savanne.
Disaster Preparedness Consultant Cecil Shillingford said that is to be expected given the current path of the storm, but cautioned Dominicans to “exercise caution and remain indoors”, as the entire island will be affected given Bertha’s Size.
Don Corriette, Acting Disaster Preparedness Coordinator, reported that communities in the North of the Island have been reporting heavy winds and rain. Winds of 45 mph were reported in Portsmouth.
Communities in the East of the Island are also reporting heavy winds and rain and have been without electricity and will be for the rest of the evening. An official from the Dominica Electricity Corporation says the company will not be attempting to restore power until after the passage of the storm.
Despite the rains and high winds, no casualties or heavy damages have been reported so far.
As at 5:00 pm Tropical Storm Bertha was located at latitude 14.9 North, longitude 61.2 and was moving towards West Northwest near 24mph.
The eye of the storm is expected to pass between Dominica and Martinique at about 8:00pm this evening.
The storm’s maximum sustained winds is 50 mph (85 kph), and no significant change in strength is expected in the next several hours.
Bertha was centered about 20 miles (30 kilometers) Northwest of Martinique and was moving west-Northwest at 24 mph (39 kph) and is expected to dump between 1 – 3 inches of rain on the island in the low lying areas and up to 5 inches at higher elevations.
“We are advising extreme caution and are asking people to remain indoors” Corritte said, “as we expect the impact [of the storm] to intensify”.
Dominica has been under tropical storm warning from early morning.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit ordered all businesses closed by 1:00pm so workers could get home and prepare for the storm.
Regional airline LIAT also cancelled several flights in Dominica.