partlycloudy
Friday July 3rd, 2015 11:41AM

TS Bertha dumps heavy rain on Puerto Rico

By The Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Tropical Storm Bertha pushed just south of Puerto Rico on Saturday as it unleashed heavy rains and strong winds across the region, knocking out power on some islands in the eastern Caribbean.<br /> <br /> The storm's maximum sustained winds dropped slightly to 45 mph (75 kph), and slow strengthening was expected by Sunday night. Bertha was centered about 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and was moving west-northwest at 22 mph (35 kph) late Saturday afternoon.<br /> <br /> The storm passed southwest Puerto Rico and was headed toward the eastern Dominican Republic on Saturday night. As much as 3 to 5 inches (8-13 centimeters) of rain was forecast for Puerto Rico, with isolated amounts of up to 8 inches (20 centimeters).<br /> <br /> The heaviest rains were falling in the island's southern and eastern regions, with authorities warning people to stay indoors.<br /> <br /> Jose Colon Rivera, 50, who lives in a rural area near the southern town of Cayey, said in a phone interview that he could hear the wind whistling loudly through his zinc roof.<br /> <br /> "If anything happens, I can always run," said Colon, who was watching wrestling on TV as he waited for the storm to pass.<br /> <br /> Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Puerto Rico, the eastern Dominican Republic, southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands. A tropical storm watch was in effect for central Bahamas.<br /> <br /> Authorities in the Dominican Republic banned vessels from operating along the country's east coast, which is popular with tourists. The sun shone brightly there ahead of the storm, but those who ferry hundreds of tourists a day to the nearby island of Saona remained cautious.<br /> <br /> The storm may bring rain to a drought-hit area of southern Puerto Rico, authorities said.<br /> <br /> It rained less than an inch in June in Puerto Rico, compared with the month's average of more than 4 inches. July saw more rain, but the 3.40 inches (8.64 centimeters) that fell was still down from the average of 4.76 inches (12 centimeters).
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