Update on Tropical Storm Erika Impact in Puerto Rico

Situation is looking pretty serious. According to Caribbean News, here is the latest update on Erika and the measures Puerto Rico has taken to protect itself:

In a statement, the Hurricane Center said: “Erika began tracking somewhat south of the previous forecast when it crossed the Windward Islands and is now forecast to track directly over central Puerto Rico overnight tonight. Now most areas of Puerto Rico will experience sustained storm force winds greater than 40 mph…with gusts up to 60 mph possible,” adding, “Rainfall estimates for the local islands have been raised to 4 to 8 inches with up to 12 inches possible.”

Government officials at the Emergency Management & Disaster Administration Agency (Aemead by its Spanish acronym) in Puerto Rico, including Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Víctor Suárez, have announced measures being taken by the government in preparation for the storm.

Among them, all security components in the 78 municipalities are activated, as well as emergency protocols in all government agencies such as the Police, Health and Education departments. A total of 484 refugee schools were activated throughout the island.

Moreover, ferry service to Vieques and Culebra is suspended, as are Metropolitan Bus Authority and Urban Train operations. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO by its Spanish acronym) already issued a price-freeze order. And no alcohol was to be sold after 12 p.m. for a 24-hour period.

“We’re happy given the dry conditions, but it does highlight the need to be on alert,” García Padilla said in a press conference Thursday, adding that heavy downpours could lead to flash floods.

The governor also activated the National Guard as a precaution and asked that everyone head home by noon Thursday.”