The U.S. Coast Guard closed all ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to incoming commercial ships and warned that all commercial vessels bigger than 200 gross tons must leave or obtain permission to remain in port.
Downpours drenched the French island of Guadeloupe on Wednesday, said local chief meteorologist Norbert Aouizerats. Officials warned of swollen rivers and flooding in Martinique, where authorities urged people in low-lying areas to evacuate.
In the Dominican Republic, authorities banned boats from entering its waters and warned of heavy rains from Thursday through Saturday.
On the island of Vieques, just east of Puerto Rico, people prepared for the government to shut off power temporarily.
Glenn Curry, an owner of Bananas Guesthouse, said he closed his restaurant and would move guests to a higher floor.
“I don’t think this is going to be a major storm, but it’s going to be noisy and unpleasant for a few hours,” he said.
In the meantime, another tropical depression was moving across the Atlantic. The depression had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph early Thursday and was expected to become a tropical storm later Thursday or on Friday. The depression was centered about 1,110 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest at about 16 mph.
Associated Press writers Jason Bronis in Christiansted, St. Croix; Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico; David McFadden in Kingston, Jamaica; and Rodolphe Lamy in Fort-de-France, Martinique, contributed to this report.
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