Tropical Storm Karen speeds up after soaking Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Tropical Storm Karen drenched southcentral Puerto Rico, causing a river to wash away a bridge in Coamo and cutting off at least 15 families, the National Weather Service said.
The area was inaccessible Tuesday night, said Gabriel Lojero, a meteorologist for the service in the capital of San Juan.
Even as Karen moves away from Puerto Rico, it’ll bring heavy rainfall, strong thunderstorms and flooding threats through Wednesday, forecasters said.
“This could be enough to bring down trees, and the infrastructure for power is still weak after Maria, so I anticipate power outages,” CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said. “Strong rip currents will also be a danger for the next few days.”
By Wednesday morning, the center of Karen was 100 miles north of St. Thomas and 110 miles northeast of San Juan. The storm was hurling 45 mph winds as it moved north at 14 mph.
“On the forecast track, the center of Karen will continue to move farther away from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today,” the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday. “However, strong squalls located to the south and southeast of the center will continue to affect those areas early this morning before subsiding by late morning.”
Karen will likely dump up to 6 inches of rain on Puerto Rico, with some isolated areas getting up to 10 inches. “These rains may cause flash flooding and mudslides, especially in mountainous areas,” the hurricane center said.
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced announced a price freeze order that covers gas, diesel and other essential products.
“We emphasize to the citizens to prepare with caution and evaluate if they need to go to a shelter,” she tweeted.
The governor announced she was suspending school Wednesday.
Puerto Rico’s Department of Education said on Monday that it’s “taking the necessary measures” to guarantee security during the storm.