Noel becomes hurricane, kills 115 in Caribbean

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Tropical storm Noel, which has killed at least 115, is now ranked a category one hurricane and continues to batter the Caribbean with torrential rain and strong winds, local media said.
SANTO DOMINGO, November 2 (RIA Novosti) - Tropical storm Noel, which has killed at least 115, is now ranked a category one hurricane and continues to batter the Caribbean with torrential rain and strong winds, local media said.

The Dominican Republic has been hardest hit with 73 people dead since Monday and more than 60,000 evacuated. A state of emergency has been declared in 28 provinces and in the country's capital, Santo Domingo.

In Haiti, which was also badly hit, at least 40 people were reported to have died. One person died in Jamaica and another was killed in the Bahamas.

In Cuba at least 10,000 people have been evacuated, but no casualties have been reported as the island received over double the average rainfall for October, with more expected.

Storm warnings were issued in southeast Florida, but the alerts were lifted Thursday afternoon when Noel started to change direction.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the hurricane is currently moving northeast away from the Bahamas and towards Bermuda with strong winds up to 75 miles per hour.

Noel, the 14th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to be named, is ranked the deadliest this year, surpassing hurricane Felix, that killed 101 people in Nicaragua and Honduras in early September.

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