Cristobal’s Pelting Rains Lash Southeast Bahamas

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -
Water rushes through an open bay at the Carraizo Dam to release water left by the passing tropical storm in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
Water rushes through an open bay at the Carraizo Dam to release water left by the passing tropical storm in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

Slow-moving Tropical Storm Cristobal lashed parts of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands with heavy rainfall and white-crested surf after swollen rivers swept at least three people away on the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

In the Dominican Republic, a  man drowned when he tried to drive his pickup truck across a rushing river in Hato Mayor, a province northeast of the capital of Santo Domingo. Juan Manuel Mendez, the country’s emergency operations director, said the death was due to the “regrettable recklessness of this driver.”

In Haiti, authorities were looking for two residents reported swept away late Saturday by a river that burst its banks in the western port town of Saint Marc. “We’re still looking for the bodies,” said Luckecy Mathieu, a local civil protection coordinator.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Cristobal may strengthen into a hurricane on Wednesday while over the open waters of the Atlantic. The storm’s center was expected to curve away from the U.S. East Coast.

Many residents in the sparsely populated southeastern Bahamas and the tiny British Caribbean dependency of the Turks and Caicos Islands hunkered down as Cristobal’s rains pelted windowpanes.

Capt. Stephen Russell, head of the Bahamas’ emergency management agency, said there had been no reports of damage. Air traffic to the southeastern Bahamian islands had not been suspended, but sea vessels were advised to remain in port, he said.

Cristobal formed as a tropical depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday.

Before strengthening into a storm, it had downed several trees and power lines on Puerto Rico, leaving more than 23,500 people without power and 8,720 without water. There were a handful of reported landslides.