The threat of flooding rainfall in Haiti will increase this weekend as a weak tropical disturbance toting heavy showers and gusty thunderstorms moves in from the Eastern Atlantic.
AccuWeather.com meteorologists have been tracking this system as it came off Africa. While it still remains unorganized in the Atlantic, it has the potential to produce torrential downpours as it moves through the islands.
The system and the associated nasty downpours is forecast to affect Haiti beginning on Sunday.
In addition, Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi is predicting a second surge of tropically induced rain in the next two weeks with a tropical wave following the current system and has said the front-running system may be something for Florida and the Gulf to be on watch later next week.
According to Bastardi, a major rainfall season is beginning and significant rain is predicted for Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Weak systems can bring big rains and big problems.
Bastardi said these kinds of disturbances could be an extreme problem for Haiti, which is still trying to rebuild after it was devastated by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in January.
As recently as June 4, CNN reported little progress in clearing the debris caused by the quake. According to the U.S. State Department, the government of Haiti launched its Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission on June 1.
Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather.com expert senior meteorologist, noted that Haiti's rainy season this year will be significantly more problematic for those left homeless by the January disaster. Approximately 1.5 million are still homeless according to Signon.com.
The quake has left behind unstable hillsides and has increased the risk of mudslides caused by heavy rain.
Many of the forests in Haiti have been clear cut years ago, adding to the vulnerability from flooding and mudslides.
Giovanni Riccardi Candiani, head of contingency planning for U.N. Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, told the Palm Beach Post that flooding is a significant concern in Haiti. Tropical storms in 2004 killed almost 3,000 people; many of these victims died due to the floods.
Most of the shelters available to refugees today consist of tarps and tents that may not be able to withstand extreme weather.
Haiti may also be at greater risk to suffer from hurricane damage due to its weakened condition. Bastardi is expecting a top-10 hurricane season, which could include as many as 18 named storms. Bastardi also said that Haiti may be overdue for a significant hurricane season. Haiti was hardest hit by hurricanes Flora, Cleo and Inez in the 1960s.
As the disturbance plows westward this weekend into early next week, it will affect other islands in the northern Caribbean including the Leewards, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic on Hispaniola, and Cuba.
Story by Kristen Rodman and Kirstie Hettinga, AccuWeather.com Staff Writers
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