Thousands of people left homeless from Haiti's massive earthquake waited in their tents and makeshift shanties as Tropical Storm Emily swirled toward their island nation Thursday, bringing potentially devastating rains and winds.
Forecasters predicted the storm would make landfall on Haiti's southern peninsula after dawn and dump torrential rains across a country where more than 600,000 people still live without shelter after last year's earthquake.
Emily's winds are only around 50 miles per hour, but forecasters say the biggest concern is flooding. Up to 20 inches of rain is expected in Haiti's mountainous areas.
"This storm has a lot of heavy rainfall with it," Diana Goeller, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Hurricane Center, told The Associated Press. "So, in those mountainous areas, there could be very dangerous, life-threatening mudslides or flash floods."
"If any storm comes, we meet our demise," said Renel Joseph, a 57-year-old resident of Cite Soleil, a seaside shantytown of Haiti's capital.
Local authorities urged people to conserve food and safeguard their belongings.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm was heading west-northwest at 7 mph early Thursday. The storm was about 100 miles south-southeast of Port-au-Prince.