Tropical storm Erika has broken up over eastern Cuba, bringing heavy rain to the drought-stricken region. Earlier, it killed at least 20 people in Dominica and caused widespread devastation.
Tropical storm Erika "dissipated" as it crossed Cuba on Saturday, with its maximum winds dropping to 56 kph (35 mph), the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has said.
It said the storm still posed a threat of wind gusts and flooding in Cuba and then Florida, possibly regenerating into a tropical storm before reaching the northwest Florida Panhandle, the NHC said.
But Erika also brought welcome rains to Cuba, with the region suffering its worst drought since 1901.
"The rains, at times intense, are received with pleasure, given the intense drought that has affected this region since the end of last year, " the official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said.
Dominica 'set back 20 years'
Before making landfall in Cuba, Erika pounded the Caribbean island of Dominica on Friday, killing at least 20 people and unleashing floods and mudslides.
"The visual damage I saw today, I fear, may have set our development process back by 20 years," Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on Friday after inspecting the damage wrought by the storm, which wrecked highways and washed away bridges. He said that several people were confirmed missing in addition to those killed.
Erika then went on to lash impoverished Haiti, where at least one man was killed in a landslide in the town of Carries, and dumped heavy rain on the Dominican Republic, which takes up the other half of the island of Hispaniola where Haiti is located.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic closed schools, ports and beaches during the storm, but no casualties have so far been reported.
tj/bk (Reuters, AFP)