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Tropical Storm Erika Drenches Dominica

  • VOA News

Strong winds and waves batter the coast as Tropical Storm Erika approaches Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Aug. 28, 2015.

Strong winds and waves batter the coast as Tropical Storm Erika approaches Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Aug. 28, 2015.

Tropical Storm Erika has soaked the Caribbean island of Dominica, leaving 20 people dead.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said Friday Erika brought "monumental destruction" to the tiny island (751 square kilometers) of nearly 75,000 people.

"The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years," Skerrit said after surveying the island.

"Hundreds of homes, bridges and roads have been destroyed," the prime minister said. "We have, in essence, to rebuild Dominica."

Erika also drenched the Dominican Republic Friday and is set to move over Haiti as the storm weakens. Haiti has opened emergency shelters across the country.

Erika is forecast to pass Saturday over Cuba and possibly reach the southeastern U.S. state of Florida Monday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Friday. Residents across the state have cleared store shelves of emergency supplies and bottled water.

Meanwhile, in the Pacific, Hurricane Ignacio is expected to strengthen before hitting the Hawaiian islands Monday.

Governor David Ige has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Ignacio.

Forecasters say Ignacio's path is uncertain, but could cause widespread damage because of the storm's dangerous surf, winds and rain.

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