Noel no threat

Bahamas, Turks and Caicos in sights

A tropical storm that lashed the island of Hispaniola with heavy rains Monday morning is not expected to affect the Cayman Islands, but it could bring damage to the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Tropical storm Noel, the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was expected to pass well east of the Cayman Islands, according to weather reports Monday morning.

At 10 am Monday, Noel was located about 80 miles east-southeast of eastern Cuba and about 300 miles southeast of the central Bahamas. The tropical storm was moving at 12 mph, bringing maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, with higher gusts. The National Hurricane Centre in Miami said it expected little change in Noel’s strength over the next 24 hours.

The storm weakened as it passed over Hispaniola’s mountainous terrain early Monday morning, but heavy rains that could lead to life threatening flash-floods and deadly mudslides were expected to batter Haiti and the Dominican Republic into the evening.

In an advisory at 5.30pm Sunday evening, Cayman’s National Hurricane Committee said it would continue to monitor the storm but would not issue any further media advisories unless Noel made an unforeseen change in path.

The storm is expected to bring five to 10 inches of rain and strong winds to the Turks and Caicos Islands by Monday afternoon, before moving on to the southern Bahamas Tuesday morning. It is expected the storm will come within 100 to 300 miles east of south Florida before curving back out to sea.

Cayman’s National Hurricane Committee said residents should monitor local media in case the storm makes an unforseen change of direction.

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