Friday, November 2, 2007

Hurricane Noel

The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Noel has strengthened into a hurricane and now has sustained winds near 120 kilometers per hour as it moves northeast from the Bahamas toward Bermuda.

Forecasters said at about midnight UTC Thursday that a hurricane watch remains in effect for the northwestern Bahamas, which could receive as much as 46 centimeters of rain.

Before reaching hurricane strength, Noel killed more than 100 people across the Caribbean earlier. The tropical storm caused mudslides and flash floods across Haiti and the Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola and soaked Cuba.

Sixty-six died in the Dominican Republic, where President Leonel Fernandez declared a state of emergency. At least one entire village was swept away by floodwaters, and rescuers have been unable to reach several other villages.

Thirty four people were killed in Haiti, where hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands left homeless. One fatality was reported in Jamaica.

The United Nations mission in Haiti says peacekeeping troops helped evacuate thousands of people in the storm's path. The U.N. says soldiers assisted in food distribution and provided medical assistance to those affected.

Noel is the 14th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and runs through November 30.

Images of the damage cause by Tropical Storm Noel

And in the Dominican Republic?

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Liberian Gas Carrier Grounded in Dominican Republic

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Coast Guard personnel deployed to San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic Tuesday to support Dominican Republic authorities during salvage operations of Liberian gas carrier SCF Tomsk which ran aground Monday.

Dominican Republic authorities have established a Unified Command to coordinate salvage operations between local agencies and the marine industry responding to the incident. The Nodrog Shipping Corporation owned vessel has hired marine salvage company Titan to conduct salvage operations.

The 551-foot gas carrier completed offloading liquefied petroleum gas at the Coastal Petroleum Dominicana, S.A. facility in San Pedro de Macoris Monday, when the vessel broke loose from its offshore moorings and grounded on the reef line during Tropical Storm Noel.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan operation’s controllers received initial notification at approximately 1 p.m. Monday from the U.S. Coast Guard liaison in the Dominican Republic that the double-hull gas carrier ran aground 70 yards from the shoreline, approximately 200 yards east from the Coastal Petroleum Dominicana facility, and that all 23 ship crewmembers aboard were reported safe and in good health. READ STORY

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