Karen exits Caribbean after causing flooding, power outages

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) – Authorities in Puerto Rico and the United States (US) Virgin Islands reported limited power outages, flooding and landslides as Tropical Storm Karen swirled away from the northeast Caribbean early yesterday.

Some schools and government offices were expected to reopen in the region with the exception of those in St John in the US Virgin Islands.

Ernesto Morales, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s San Juan office, said heavy rains would keep affecting Puerto Rico’s southern and eastern region until shortly before dawn yesterday.

“It’s not the moment to lower your guard,” he warned.

Crews also temporarily closed some coastal roads in southeastern Puerto Rico that became flooded after Karen hit the island on Tuesday, leaving up to 29,000 customers without power at one point.

An island-wide outage was reported in neighbouring St Thomas on Tuesday morning, followed by smaller outages later that afternoon.

A man uses a flour bag to protect himself from the rain in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. PHOTO: AP

Forecasters warned of more rain showers for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands throughout yesterday, but those were expected to dissipate by today as Karen headed north.

The US National Hurricane Centre said it was expected to stay well east of the Bahamas, which was hit by Hurricane Dorian on September 1.

Karen was located about 110 miles (177 kilometres) northeast of San Juan early yesterday and was moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 kph). It had maximum sustained winds increased in the afternoon to 45 mph (75 kph), with some strengthening expected in upcoming days.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jerry was expected to pass near Bermuda yesterday.

It was about 220 miles west-southwest of Bermuda and had sustained winds of 45mph as it moved north-northeast at 5mph.

In addition, Tropical Storm Lorenzo was chugging through open waters and was projected to become a major hurricane by the end of the week, although it is not expected to affect the Caribbean.

It was centred about 545 miles southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph). It was heading west-northwest at 16mph.