Tropical Storm Franklin, the seventh named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall on the island of Hispaniola on Wednesday morning, bringing torrential rains to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving northward at 12 mph.
The storm dumped as much as 10 inches of rain on some parts of Hispaniola, and up to 15 inches in isolated areas, according to the National Hurricane Center. The heavy rainfall triggered flash floods and mudslides, especially in the mountainous regions of Haiti, where erosion and deforestation have made the country vulnerable to natural disasters.
In the Dominican Republic, more than 40 aqueducts were out of service due to the storm, affecting more than 830,000 customers. Several schools, government agencies and airports were closed, and 24 provinces were under red alert. Some flooding was reported in the capital of Santo Domingo on Tuesday, before the storm made landfall.
The governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic urged residents to stock up on water, food and medication, and to seek shelter in safe places. They also activated emergency plans and deployed rescue teams to assist the affected populations.
Tropical storm warnings and watches were in effect for the entire southern coast of Hispaniola, as well as the northern Dominican coast and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The storm was expected to move away from Hispaniola by Wednesday night and head toward the southwest Atlantic, where it could become a hurricane far from land.
Meanwhile, another tropical storm, Harold, brought heavy rain and wind to South Texas and southern New Mexico on Tuesday, causing power outages and localized flooding. Harold was expected to weaken as it moved inland. A third tropical storm, Gert, was located in the eastern Atlantic and posed no threat to land.