SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Authorities in the Dominican Republic fanned out across the Caribbean country on Thursday to evaluate the damage Tropical Storm Franklin inflicted on crops and homes after causing heavy flooding that killed at least two people and left one missing.
More than 670 homes were affected by the storm, according to preliminary government figures, and 24 communities were cut off by heavy rains.
Crews evacuated more than 3,300 people to higher ground ahead of the storm, and another 352 residents sought safety in government shelters.
Among them was Domingo Ogando Figuereo, who took shelter in a communal center in the city of San Cristobal with his wife and three children.
“We hope everything turns out well,” he said as he asked authorities to prevent water from the Yubaso River near his home from backing up.
The request was echoed by Santa Rosario Rodríguez, a homemaker who went to a shelter with her two daughters when the Nigua River by her house started to swell.
“When it fills up with water, it has nowhere to go,” she said.
The storm left hundreds of thousands of people without power and more than 1.6 million without water after knocking 120 aqueducts out of service.
By Thursday, schools, businesses and government agencies were reopened as the tropical storm spun northeast of the country.
As of Thursday evening, Franklin was about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east-northeast of Grand Turk Island. It had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) and was moving east-northeast at 8 mph (13 kph) across open waters.
Franklin is expected to strengthen into a hurricane on Saturday, but poses no threat to land.
It is the seventh named storm in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. An eighth named storm, Gert, dissipated on Tuesday.
On Aug. 10, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration updated its forecast and warned that this year’s hurricane season would be above normal. Between 14 to 21 named storms are forecast. Of those, six to 11 could become hurricanes, with two to five of them possibly becoming major hurricanes.
Associated Press reporter Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.
Martín Adames Alcántara, The Associated Press