Noel, the Atlantic hurricane season's 14th
named storm, became a Category 1 hurricane Thursday as it moved
away from the Bahamas on a northeasterly track well off the Florida
coast, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The storm was
centered midway between Bermuda and the North Carolina coast on
Friday, packing winds of 80 mph.
However, Noel was
expected to lose some strength and posed no threat to the U.S. East
Coast other than rain as it moved toward Canada's Maritime
Meanwhile, Noel had
proven to be a devastating storm in parts of Haiti, the Dominican
Republic and Cuba earlier in the week.
The storm triggered
landslides, mudslides, drownings and forced the evacuation of
thousands of people from their homes with a death toll well above
However, the main
tourist areas in the Dominican Republic were not damaged, according
to the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism. No damage to hotel
complexes was reported in the major tourist areas of Bavaro,
Bayahibe, La Romana, Punta Cana, Las Terrenas, Samana, Cabarete,
Sosua, Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, Juan Dolio, Boca Chica,
Constanza or Jarabacoa.
occupancy in the tourist areas of the country remains at 100%, and
at 75% in the mountainous tourism region," said Felix Jimenez,
minister of tourism for the Dominican Republic. "Despite the
damages that resulted from Noel on a national level, all tourism
infrastructure development will continue as planned."
Ministry of Tourism also reported that all international flights
had resumed earlier in the week, which enabled hotels to continue
honoring vacation packages booked in that time frame.
The government of
the Dominican Republic arranged for $200 million in emergency aid
for the disaster-struck areas. The money will be used to repair
damaged buildings and homes and construct temporary homes as
contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].
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