Puerto Rico to close schools as Tropical Storm Karen threatens flooding

Puerto Rico’s governor announced Monday that she was canceling classes and closing public agencies as Tropical Depression Karen approaches the U.S. territory and threatens to cause heavy flooding in the island’s eastern region.

Gov. Wanda Vázquez activated the National Guard and urged people in flood-prone areas to seek shelter.

At 8 p.m. EDT, Karen was centered 180 miles south of San Juan and moving north-northwest at 13 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

Roberto Garcia, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s San Juan office, said 2 to 4 inches of rain was expected, with up to 8 inches in isolated areas, by the time the storm passed by on Tuesday. He added that some towns in the eastern part of Puerto Rico would likely be hit with moderate to serious flooding, especially those next to mountains.


“They will be greatly affected,” he said.

The island is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which hit as a Category 4 storm two years ago and is estimated to have caused more than $100 billion in damage. More than 25,000 homes still have a blue tarp for a roof and the electric grid remains unstable.

“It’s a reality that we might have power outages,” Vázquez said.

A tropical storm warning was still in effect for Puerto Rico, the neighboring islands of Vieques and Culebra, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Schools and government offices also were ordered to close on those islands.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lorenzo formed over the far eastern Atlantic, though it was projected to curve away from land. It was centered about 255 miles south-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. It was heading west at 16 mph.

Farther west, Tropical Storm Jerry was moving toward the north-northwest and was projected to pass north of Bermuda by Wednesday morning. It was located about 310 miles southwest of Bermuda and had sustained winds of 65 mph.