Erika kills 3

MIAMI – At least three people have been killed in the island country of Dominica as tropical storm Erika continues its destructive path towards Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

Many others were reported missing in Dominica and the storm had caused widespread flooding there, according to local media reports on Thursday.

The bodies of an elderly man and two children were pulled from floods and mudslides in the town of Good Hope and officials expected the death toll to rise considerably in the tiny nation, the website TheDominican.net reported on Thursday.

The storm was centred about 255km west of Guadeloupe and was expected to turn toward the west-northwest later in the day, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Erika has weakened slightly, with maximum sustained winds near 75km per hour, but tropical storm warnings remained in place for much of the Leeward Islands.

“On the forecast track, the centre of Erika will move near the Virgin Islands later today (yesterday), move near or over Puerto Rico tonight (last night), and move near or over the Dominican Republic on Friday (today),” the NHC said in its latest update.

As a precaution, authorities in Puerto Rico closed schools and suspended maritime traffic in the east.

On its current trajectory, NHC models show that Erika could impact Florida as a hurricane by early Monday (Tuesday Fiji time).

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