|Posted on August 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM|
ROUSEAU, Dominica — Tropical Storm Emily was expected to resume a track Tuesday that would take it over Puerto Rico, where rain had already started falling and locals had stocked up on bottled water and other emergency supplies.
"Emily has been meandering during the past several hours," the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. ET report, adding that it "should resume a west to west-northwestward motion ... later today."
The storm was expected to bring up to 10 inches to Puerto Rico and later the Dominican Republic and Haiti, enough to cause flash floods and mudslides, the center said.
The Weather Channel's hurricane expert Dr. Rick Knabb reported that the storm would likely cross over the mountains of Puerto Rico, which could weaken it.
The storm was about 270 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, at 11 a.m. ET. It had sustained winds of 40 mph.
"Only slight strengthening is anticipated during the next day or two," the center stated.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Haiti.
In San Juan, cruise ships that had planned to stop there changed course and headed for other destinations Tuesday.
As Emily passed near the island of Dominica overnight, a weather official urged people to hunker down.
"We are just advising everyone to stay put, stay alert," Senior Acting Meteorological Officer Cheryl Etienne Lebanc said on the state-owned radio station. "Now, might not be the time to be venturing out."
People appeared to be taking the advice as the streets were deserted on the island known for its rugged, natural beauty.
Rosie Brown, a resident of the tiny western town of Mero, said she was praying the island would be spared major damage.
"So far, it has been just a little rain, but I just pray to God that it does not get stronger and passes us free. We don't need another bad storm here, like the one a few years ago," said Brown, referring to Hurricane Dean, which brought flooding and battered banana farms in 2007.
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At Jungle Bay, a remote 55-acre resort and spa above Pointe Mulatre Bay in the lush Caribbean island's southwestern coast, guests hunkered down in tropical hardwood cottages on stilts.
Front desk worker Joanna Lloyd said she could hear the sound of surf below the cedar and almond trees that dot the resort. "The sea is a bit rough, but the rain has stopped for the moment. It's not so bad," Lloyd said.
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