from the DR newswire:
Santiago low areas under water
Latest reports indicate Santiago is the province most affected by Tropical Storm Olga. The damage was caused by the opening of the Tavera-Bao Dam floodgates, probably to prevent a dam break, at midnight without warning those in the path of flooding. This released more than 5,000 cubic meters/second of water and caused a major swelling of the Yaque del Norte River. As reported in the Listin Diario, the governor of Santiago says at least seven people died after being caught unaware. There was major flooding in low areas of the city of Santiago.
President Leonel Fernandez is expected to visit Santiago this afternoon.
COE first report
Tropical Storm Olga did not realize that the hurricane season had ended on 30 November, and came at the Dominican Republic with torrential rains and strong gusts of wind. The Emergency Operations Committee (COE) reports in its first bulletin on the storm that 6,000 persons were evacuated and 24,595 persons had to be relocated due to the flooding, especially in areas near rivers in Santiago and northern and southern provinces. COE estimates 5,000 dwellings were affected by the storm.
COE also reported earlier that 38 houses were buried by a mudslide in the community of Juan Lopez III in Moca, Espaillat province. No victims were reported because the families had been evacuated. In Maria Trinidad Sanchez province (Nagua), 400 families were evacuated from areas close to the shoreline. Winds from the storm knocked down trees and blocked traffic along the highway between Nagua and the Samana peninsula. Nearer to Santo Domingo, flood waters cut off four communities in Monte Plata province. The COE said that it was particularly worried about communities in the Lower Yuna River basin, a low-lying area that experiences flooding nearly every time it rains.
Twenty eight hundred people have been displaced, more than 500 houses have been damaged and more rains are in the forecast. The COE is maintaining a preventive Red Alert for the National District and the provinces of Santo Domingo, San Cristobal, Monte Plata, Santiago Rodriguez, Dajabon, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Espaillat, Hermanas Mirabal, and Duarte - especially the Lower Yuna River basin.
Minimal effect in tourism areas
International airports operated as normal during and after the passing of Tropical Storm Olga, with the exception of Puerto Plata's International Airport where three flights after 11pm had to be cancelled due to the high winds. Airport operations resumed in the early morning. Some damage is reported to on the beach storefronts in Cabarete, on the North Coast and Samana on the Northeast Coast but for the most part, tourism activities are expected to resume as normal as the rains move west passing the island. Hotels are not reporting any damages. Golf courses in some areas need to wait to dry out, but regular activities are expected to resume nationwide shortly.
By 10am, all tropical storm watches and warnings for the island of Hispaniola were discontinued. Light rains continue in some areas, but reports from Puerto Rico indicate that good weather is headed our way.