As you may have heard in the recent days, there's a tropical storm passing through the Caribbean as we write. The storm has been named Dorian and is currently located about 60 miles (95 km) west northwest of St. Lucia and about 451 miles (665 km) southeast of Puerto Rico. Its maximum sustained winds are at 50 mph (85 km/h), which puts it in the tropical storm category.
The projected path of the storm shows that it will pass directly over the Dominican Republic tomorrow night as a tropical storm or maybe even as a hurricane.
The Dominican government has issued a tropical storm warning from Saona Island to Samana - this area includes Punta Cana. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected to reach the area within the next 36 hours.
A hurricane watch has also been issued for the same area, which means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A hurricane watch is typically issued 48 hours before the area will experience tropical storm force conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
A tropical storm watch is also in effect for the south coast of the Dominican Republic from Saona Island to Punta Palenque, west of Santo Domingo (including Casa de Campo Resort) and from Samana to Puerto Plata on the north coast.
If you are living in the Dominican Republic, you should now already be preparing yourself, your family and your home for the coming storm. Your checklist should include:
1. Knowing potential evacuation routes and having an evacuation plan prepared.
2. Review your insurance policy.
3. Preparing a home safety kit for your family and pets including:
- Enough water for each person to have a gallon a day
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with batteries, candles and matches
- First Aid Kit (incl. hand sanitizer)
- Garbage bags
- Phone chargers
- Duct tape
- Wrench or pliers
- Manual can opener
Be sure that your safety kit is in an easy-to-locate area such as a kitchen counter or coffee table.
4. Set up a safety room in your house/apartment - preferably a room without any windows.
5. Take out your trash and clean your drains (also outside) to prevent any flooding.
6. Clean up outside your home, trim any trees or hanging branches that might do damage and move all outdoor furniture, plants, BBQ, etc., inside or in a secure location. Move your car to a garage (if possible) or to a secure location (away from trees). If necessary, board up your windows with plywood.
7. Fill up your car's gas tank in case you need to evacuate, you don't want your car to run out of gas.
8. Put your valuables in a dry and safe place that won't get wet in case your house/apartment becomes flooded. Your valuables should include cash, electronics, personal documents, ID, passport, etc.
If you are currently vacationing in the Dominican Republic, consider whether you want to change your departure flight and contact your travel insurance and airline to find out about your options. If you decide to stay, please follow the instructions from your hotel staff and keep updated on the weather forecast.
Image from NOAA.
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