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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Tropical Storm Franklin strengthens after pounding Dominican Republic

By Judson Jones, Hogla Enecia Pérez and Livia Albeck-Ripka

Tropical Franklin gradually strengthened Thursday as it moved north into the Atlantic Ocean after hammering the Dominican Republic, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 11 a.m. Eastern time, Franklin was about 90 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk Island and was moving northeast at 7 mph. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and could reach hurricane strength, with winds of 74 mph, by Saturday, the hurricane center said.

In the Dominican Republic, the storm left at least one person dead and hundreds of thousands of homes without power or potable water.

About 350 people were displaced, with many in shelters, the Emergency Operations Center of the Dominican Republic said Wednesday. More than 500 homes were damaged and more than 2,500 roads were affected, leaving six communities cut off, officials said. As of Wednesday night, 350,000 homes were without power, and more than 1.6 million did not have potable water.

Carlos Marino Martínez, 33, was killed when he was swept away by floodwaters in the city of San Cristobal, according to the Civil Defense, a government agency in the Dominican Republic. Two women were hospitalized after a landslide in San Cristobal, officials said.

Officials closed schools and government agencies, and at least 25 of the country’s 31 provinces were under red alert, which indicates a high likelihood of damage to property, infrastructure and the environment, The Associated Press reported.

Franklin was the fourth named storm to form in two days. Tropical Storm Emily was downgraded Monday to a post-tropical cyclone after forming the day before, and Gert was also short-lived. Tropical Storm Harold formed early Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in Texas in the morning.

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