Tropical storm Erika breaks up over Cuba

  • 30/08/2015
View of Las Americas highway before the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (AAP)
View of Las Americas highway before the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (AAP)

Tropical storm Erika has broken up as it raked Cuba, bringing the drought-parched island heavy rains after the tropical storm earlier left at least 20 dead in the tiny island nation of Dominica.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center on Saturday (local time) said the storm had degenerated into a "trough of low pressure" and was just off the southeastern coast of Cuba at around 1730 GMT.

In Cuba, the heavy rains came as welcome news to an island enduring its worst drought since 1901.

"The rains, at times intense... are received with pleasure, given the intense drought that affects this region since the end of last year," the official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina said.

Remnants of the storm are expected to move up the island throughout the day.

The NHC, which issued its final bulletin on the storm, said storm warnings had been lifted but warned the low pressure system should be followed with interest in Cuba and the Bahamas.

The storm's passage came exactly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina battered parts of the southern United States, devastating New Orleans in particular.

The storm dumped heavy rains on the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but its deadliest impact was on the tiny island of Dominica, which is still recovering.

Floods and mudslides unleashed by the storm left scenes of devastation in the island of about 72,000 people.

"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 surveying the damage.

"Of greatest concern however, is the loss of life. So far we have confirmed that at least 20 citizens have died, and some are missing."

After pounding Dominica, Erika drenched Haiti where authorities set up emergency shelters across the country.

According to an initial tally, one person was killed in a landslide and two people were injured in the Port-au-Prince region when a house collapsed.

Flooding was reported in two regions after heavy rains.