Tropical Storm Erika left as many as 25 dead and devastated roads and villages on Dominica island Thursday, and Florida's governor has declared a state of emergency as the storm approaches the United States.
The small Caribbean island of Dominica saw heavy rains, wind, mudslides, and flooding from the storm, and CCN TV6 reported in an update Friday that at least 25 are dead
in just one community, and some areas can't be reached because of destroyed roads.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told CNN Friday
that floods devastated villages, and that mudslides have made it difficult for rescuers to get to some communities. Petite Savanne, in particular, is "where many are feared lost," he said.
After powering through Dominica, the storm brought heavy rains to Puerto Rico early Friday morning, USA Today said
. The National Hurricane Center projected it might weaken or dissipate over the next 12 hours, although it may remain a tropical storm.
As Erika approaches the eastern U.S. coastline, Floridians are preparing for the unknown, and meterologists are unsure what it may bring. While some weather experts expressed concern the storm could become a mild hurricane, it is more likely to remain a tropical storm.
"The very latest is not what you went to bed with last night," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said Friday. "This is going to be a rainmaker — it's not going to be a wind-maker that blows every building down."
The National Hurricane Center said conditions are volatile and the storm could change over the weekend, CNN said.
Rain would be a welcome boon for South Florida, where severe drought has plagued the area. But other Florida areas like Tampa had historic rainfall in July and early August, and they don't need any additional precipitation.
That "waterlogged" area has just recently cleared roads after previous rains, but lakes remain at dangerously high levels, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
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