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Tropical Storm Franklin Brings Risk of Heavy Rain to Dominican Republic

Written by on August 23, 2023

Tropical Storm Franklin was lashing the southern coast of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday morning, bringing with it the risk of heavy rainfall and potentially life-threatening flash flooding to the island of Hispaniola.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the southern and northern coasts of the Dominican Republic, the southern coast of Haiti as well as Turks and Caicos on Wednesday, meteorologists said.

The center of the storm was expected to reach the southern coast of Hispaniola on Wednesday and cross the island throughout the day before emerging over the southwestern Atlantic Ocean by Wednesday evening.

As of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Franklin was about 118 miles southwest of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The storm had maximum sustained winds of about 50 miles per hour and was moving north at 10 m.p.h., according to the National Hurricane Center.

The tourism office of the Dominican Republic announced on Tuesday that three of the country’s international airports would close from 10 p.m. local time until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and two others would cease operations at midnight.

The Turks and Caicos were under a tropical storm warning. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A watch extends that time window to within 48 hours.

Parts of Hispaniola were expected to receive between five and 10 inches of rain, with isolated totals up to 15 inches. Farther east, Puerto Rico could receive up to six inches of rain through the middle of the week, the Hurricane Center said. This amount of heavy rainfall may produce areas of flash and urban flooding as well as river rises and mudslides.

Strong and variable winds at higher altitudes have kept this storm disorganized and prevented it from strengthening into a hurricane. The storm could weaken further when it interacts with the rugged terrain of Hispaniola. However, once it crosses the island and re-emerges over the Atlantic, it is expected to strengthen, likely becoming a hurricane this weekend.

Franklin is the Atlantic hurricane season’s fourth named storm to form in two days. Tropical Storm Emily was downgraded on Monday to a post-tropical cyclone after forming the day before, and Gert was also short-lived. Tropical Storm Harold formed early Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Texas in the morning.

Franklin is the seventh tropical cyclone to reach tropical storm strength this year.

The Hurricane Center announced in May that it had reassessed a storm that had formed off the northeastern United States in mid-January, determining that it was a subtropical storm and thus making it the Atlantic’s first cyclone of the year.

The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that there would be 12 to 17 named storms this year, a “near-normal” amount, forecasters said. On Aug. 10, NOAA officials increased its estimate to 14 to 21 storms.

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