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Tropical Storm Erika

Tropical Storm Erika track

Tropical Storm Erika of August 2015 was the deadliest natural disaster in Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979. The fifth named storm of the season, Erika developed from a westward-moving tropical wave while well east of the Lesser Antilles. Hostile conditions, including dry air and wind shear, inhibited significant development, and Erika failed to strengthen beyond 50 mph (85 km/h). Contrary to predictions of a northwesterly recurvature, the cyclone persisted on a westerly course and passed through the Leeward Islands and emerged over the Caribbean Sea on August 27. Erika succumbed to adverse conditions the following day, dissipating as a tropical cyclone near the Dominican Republic. The remnant system persisted for several more days, ultimately moving across the Gulf of Mexico before dissipating over Georgia on September 2.

Several islands experienced heavy rainfall during the passage of Erika, especially Dominica. There, 12.62 in (321 mm) of precipitation fell at Canefield Airport, causing catastrophic mudslides and flooding. Hundreds of homes were left uninhabitable and thousands of people were displaced. With 30 deaths, Erika is regarded as the worst natural disaster in Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979. In Guadeloupe, heavy rainfall in the vicinity of Basse-Terre caused flooding and mudslides, forcing roads to temporarily close. Approximately 250,000 people in Puerto Rico were left without electricity. The island experienced US$17.37 million[nb 1] in agricultural damage. In the Dominican Republic, an unofficial weather station in Barahona measured 24.26 in (616 mm) of rain, including 8.8 in (220 mm) in a single hour. About 823 homes suffered damage and 7,345 people were displaced. Five people died in Haiti, four from a weather-related traffic accident and one from a landslide. Total damage from Erika is estimated to be over US$500 million, with US$482.8 million in Dominica alone.

State media has said at least 11 people in Cuba were killed as a result of the storm, and president Raul Castro planned to visit Santiago de Cuba in the coming days. Most of the victims were trapped in destroyed houses. This makes Sandy the deadliest hurricane to hit Cuba since 2005, when Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people.

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