D.he first Atlantic hurricane of the year weakened in the Caribbean. “Elsa” reached on the way to the island of Hispaniola, on which the Dominican Republic and Haiti are located, on Saturday, according to the US hurricane center NHC in Miami, wind speeds of a maximum of around 110 kilometers per hour. Despite the slowdown, authorities in the area, through which “Elsa” may head towards Florida by early this week, warned of heavy rainfall, floods and landslides, among other things.
Haiti declared the highest level of alert on Saturday, as reported by the Haiti Press Network, citing the civil protection of the poor Caribbean country. The measures included the ban on flights and shipping to the south coast. Residents of high-risk areas were asked to prepare for an evacuation. Because of the escalating gang fighting in the capital Port-au-Prince, thousands of people had already been displaced in June.
Wind speeds up to 140 km / h
“Elsa” had gained strength on Friday and caused destruction in parts of the Caribbean as a level 1 of 5 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour. In Barbados, the storm toppled trees and power poles, as the civil protection agency DEM announced. According to the Interior Ministry, there were power outages. The water supply for a large part of the island had been cut off as a precaution to protect the equipment. Operations at Grantley Adams International Airport have been temporarily suspended.
It was initially unclear with what intensity the storm would make itself felt in the US state of Florida. The authorities in Miami worried, among other things, about possible effects on the rescue work at the site of the partial collapse of a residential complex.
The hurricane season in the Atlantic lasts from June to November. It was particularly intense last year. The US climate agency NOAA is again expecting an above-average season this year. Experts attribute the increasing intensity of tropical cyclones, which need warm water to form, to climate change.