Power outages hit Dominican Republic as Tropical Storm Fred weakens

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tropical Storm Fred swept into the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, then weakened to a tropical depression after nightfall while dumping heavy rains that forecasters warned could cause dangerous flooding and mudslides there and in neighbouring Haiti.

Some 300,000 customers were without power in the Dominican Republic and more than a half-million were affected by swollen rivers that forced part of the aqueduct system to shut down, government officials reported.

After a quiet month of no-named storms in the region, Fred became the sixth of the Atlantic hurricane season late Tuesday as it moved past the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on a forecast track that would carry it toward Florida over the weekend.

Government crews with megaphones walked through impoverished neighbourhoods in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo ahead of the storm urging those in low-lying areas to evacuate.

Hours later, the government reported flooding in one courthouse.

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