Tropical Storm Otto hits Caribbean

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, US Virgin Islands, Oct 7 AP – Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Otto have overturned cars, toppled power lines and washed out roads in the northeastern Caribbean, officials say, while stalling efforts to free a grounded tanker.

The British Virgin Islands has been hit with the worst flooding in the islands’ history and the government declared a state of emergency, the director of Department of Disaster Management, Sharleen Dabreo, said on Thursday.

The rush of water downed power lines, broke underground drainage pipes and flipped cars that remained mired in mud.

Advertisement: Story continues below Officials closed public schools in the US Virgin Islands and St Kitts and Nevis, where government spokesman Erasmus Williams said rough waters were frustrating efforts to free an oil tanker that broke free of its moorings and grounded in the capital’s harbour.

None of the roughly 18,000 barrels of diesel fuel inside the Turkish-flagged Azra-S have spilled.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said Otto became a tropical storm early Thursday and it was expected to grow into at least a minimum-force hurricane with winds of 120km/h by Friday night or Saturday.

Its maximum sustained winds were near 95km/h at midday on Thursday – with tropical-storm-force winds of at least 62km/hm, extending as far as 165km from the centre.

Otto was centered about 400km northeast of Grand Turk Island and had been almost stationary early on Thursday, but the Hurricane Centre said it was likely to start advancing northeast across the open Atlantic toward the Azores islands.

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