Tropical Storm Grace drenching Haiti days after major earthquake

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Washington Post – Tropical Depression Grace is deluging Haiti just days after a devastating earthquake leveled scores of buildings and claimed about 1,300 lives. The tremor, registering at magnitude 7.2, struck around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, collapsing apartment buildings and sending residents running through the streets in fear.

Now, heavy downpours are pivoting onto Hispaniola and overspreading Haiti late Monday, bringing rainfall rates topping two inches per hour and the threat of flooding and mudslides. The National Hurricane Center wrote “torrential” rains were falling over both the Dominican Republic and Haiti in its 5 p.m. advisory Monday.

Search-and-rescue efforts continue in the wake of the earthquake but could be hampered by the adverse meteorological conditions.

There are growing signs that Grace could threaten Mexico, too, barreling westward through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and intensifying into a potentially more formidable tropical storm or even hurricane.

Search-and-rescue efforts continue in the wake of the earthquake but could be hampered by the adverse meteorological conditions.

There are growing signs that Grace could threaten Mexico, too, barreling westward through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and intensifying into a potentially more formidable tropical storm or even hurricane.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Grace had 35 mph winds and was just shy of tropical-storm intensity as it swept westward at 15 mph about 50 miles south of Port Au Prince, Haiti. Deluging downpours were pinwheeling westward over the nation by midafternoon and will continue into Tuesday.

The strongest winds should remain offshore, but gusts to 35 mph are still possible in areas reeling from Saturday’s quake. Widespread rain totals of 5 to 10 inches with localized 15-inch amounts will be possible. Haiti, a nation known for its widespread deforestation, is especially susceptible to heavy rainfall. With less vegetation to anchor topsoil, mudslides and landslides are routine during heavy rain events.

That may cause additional casualties while also isolating more remote locales, posing complications for dispatching resources to areas in need.

Numerous aftershocks have occurred, including some stronger than magnitude 5. Strong quakes are likely to occur for months to come. Some strong aftershocks may occur during the height of heavy rainfall associated with Grace, amplifying the landslide risk even more.

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