Home / Top Story / Tropical Storm Erika 'poses severe threat' to Florida

Tropical Storm Erika 'poses severe threat' to Florida

A couple walks in a pier as Tropical Storm Erika approaches the island in Naguabo, Puerto Rico, Thursday.Ricardo Arduengo/AP

A couple walks in a pier as Tropical Storm Erika approaches the island in Naguabo, Puerto Rico, Thursday.

People shop for water at a supermarket in preparation for Tropical Storm Erika in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday.ALVIN BAEZ/Reuters

People shop for water at a supermarket in preparation for Tropical Storm Erika in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday.

A man leaves a convenience store boarded up with storm shutters as Puerto Rico prepares for the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika, in Naguabo, Puerto Rico, Thursday.ALVIN BAEZ/Reuters

A man leaves a convenience store boarded up with storm shutters as Puerto Rico prepares for the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika, in Naguabo, Puerto Rico, Thursday.

A man walks with his dog on the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday,ALVIN BAEZ/Reuters

A man walks with his dog on the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday,

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Tropical Storm Erika has Florida in her sights.

The deadly storm that lashed Puerto Rico with heavy rains and wind Friday after killing four people and causing devastating floods on the island of Dominica was marching westward across the Caribbean toward the Sunshine State.

Warning that Erika “poses a severe threat to the entire state,” Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as the latest forecast had the storm hitting Naples on the southwest coast of Florida around 8 a.m. Monday and then sliding up the state’s spine.

“We’re going to hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” the governor said earlier. “But get ready.”

Heavy rains are likely to drench Florida’s Gulf Coast this weekend and could cause flooding in the Tampa Bay area, Dennis Feltgen at the National Hurricane Center in Miami warned.

Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic and Haiti were getting a taste of Erika’s fury with sustained winds of near 50 mph.

In Puerto Rico, officials, fearing landslides, closed numerous roads and called out the National Guard. Thousands across the island remained without power.

Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said schools and government offices would remain closed on Friday as he warned residents to stay indoors.

“We don’t want to report any deaths,” Garcia said. “Use utmost precaution.”

Meanwhile, on lush and mountainous Dominica, rescue crews were stymied in their search for the missing by downed bridges and ruined roads.

“Erika has really, really visited us with a vengeance,” Assistance Police Superintendent Claude Weekes told The Associated Press. “There are many fallen rocks and trees, and water. It’s really chaotic.”

Tropical Storm Erika is currently moving closer to Puerto Rico and has maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.AP

Tropical Storm Erika is currently moving closer to Puerto Rico and has maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour.

The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency dispatched two helicopters carrying medics and supplies.

“The only way into Dominica at this time is via helicopter,” said Ronald Jackson, the agency’s executive director.

Tropical storm warnings remained in effect across the Caribbean including the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Haiti, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

With News Wire Services

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csiemaszko@nydailynews.com

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