St Lucia hit by earthquake, tropical storm

St Lucia, feeling the wrath of Tropical Storm Kirk, was hit by a strong earthquake on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

The Seismic Research Unit of the St Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit the island at 8:32 am (local time).
It said the location of the quake was Latitude: 15.11 north, Longitude: 60.43 west at a depth of 10 kilometres (km).

The quake was felt 134 km north east of Castries, 108 km east south east of Roseau in Dominica and 91 km north east of Fort-de-France, the capital of the French-speaking island of Martinique.

Tropical Storm Kirk was drenching St Lucia with heavy rains and string winds, knocking out electricity in some parts of the island as well as causing several landslides. The storm is located 140 miles west south west and of St Lucia and 160 miles west south west of Martinique.

The authorities have discontinued a tropical storm warning for Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the Meteorological Service of Barbados has discontinued the tropical storm warning for the island and Dominica.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for St Lucia and a tropical storm watch is in effect for St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said its headquarters in Bisee, north of here, was without electricity from the power company.

NEMO said it had received reports of fallen trees in the Barre de l’isle area, the mile long trial that divides the eastern and western half of the island

NEMO said there were also reports of flooding in Dennery along the island’s east coast and that St Lucia is still being battered by strong rains and heavy winds.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that the centre of Kirk was located near latitude 13.2 North, longitude 62.5 West and that it is moving toward the west near 12 miles per hour (mph) and this motion is expected to continue during the next day or two.

“On the forecast track, Kirk’s centre, or its remnants, will move across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea over the next two to three days.

Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts and Kirk is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression later today or Saturday, and then degenerate into a trough of low pressure.

NHC said that tropical storm conditions are still occurring over portions of the warning area and should continue to spread across the remainder of the warning area today.

“Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area during the next several hours. Locally higher winds are likely atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains.”

It said that Kirk is expected to produce total rainfall of four to six inches across the northern Windward and southern Leeward Islands with isolated maximum totals up to 10 inches across Martinique and Dominica.

“These rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Across St Croix and eastern Puerto Rico, Kirk is expected to bring two to four inches with isolated maximum totals of six inches today and Saturday.”