Dominican Republic Storm: At Least 21 Dead, Over 13,000 Displaced in Country’s ‘Largest Rainfall Event Ever’

Heavy rain and flooding wreaked havoc across the Dominican Republic over the weekend, killing multiple people and displacing thousands of others. The catastrophic weather event was reportedly caused by a tropical depression lurking in the Caribbean region and has a chance to persist this week starting Monday, November 20. The weather disturbance also has a chance to intensify into a storm or hurricane in the coming hours and days.

The Dominican Republic storm developed almost a week after the United States’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the development of a Caribbean weather disturbance in the Caribbean Sea, namely Potential Tropical Cyclone Twenty-Two. It also comes after some US meteorologists earlier this month declared the end of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which starts June 1 and ends on November 30 each year.

Dominican Republic Storm

Dominican Republic Rainfall

(Photo : Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash)

At least 21 people have been reported dead and more than 13,000 others were displaced across the Dominican Republic following heavy rain and flooding as of Sunday, November 19, according to local authorities. Among the casualties include the deaths of nine people in the capital city of Santo Domingo, where torrential rain caused the collapse of a highway tunnel wall. Furthermore, three children were also among those killed in the Dominican Republic storm event.

The unprecedented extreme weather event, involving continuous heavy rain for two days, not only flooded homes but also led to power outages and damaged infrastructures, including bridges and roads, according to the country’s Emergency Operations Center (COE). Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader also described the natural disaster as the “largest rainfall event ever” in the nation’s history.

Also Read: Hurricane Fiona Slams Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic Causing Catastrophic Flooding

Dominican Republic Weather Alert

Prior to the disaster, Dominican weather authorities issued a weather alert for the country, as cited by the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. On Saturday, November 18, the COE issued a red alert for eight provinces nationwide and a yellow alert for 17 provinces in relation to heavy rain caused by the tropical depression. The alert at that time also mentioned risks of weather hazards such as life-threatening flash and urban flooding.

In an updated weather alert on Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo stated that the COE issued a red alert for 14 provinces and a yellow alert for 11 provinces this time. The U.S. embassy also warned American citizens in the Dominican Republic to avoid walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters and other safety precautions.

Caribbean Tropical Depression

The NHC office in Miami, Florida stated that the Caribbean tropical depression has a 10% chance of tropical cyclone or hurricane formation in 48 hours, according to its weather forecast as of 7:00 a.m. EST (local time) on Monday.

Named “Disturbance 1”, this Caribbean storm system is moving in a westward direction over the South Caribbean Sea. As the week progresses, it can also impact the coastal areas of Central America and South America. The NHC says that the system became associated with a low-pressure area in the central Caribbean, resulting in increased shower and thunderstorm activity.

Related Article: Tropical Storm Franklin Updates: Mudslides, Dangerous Flooding Likely in parts of Hispaniola Midweek

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