Tropical Storm Noel's top winds weakened this morning, but the heavy rain it dumped on Haiti and the Dominican Republic caused flooding as the storm moved westward across the Caribbean. Noel is tracking slowly toward the north-northwest and is expected to move in a general northwesterly sweep for the next 24 hours. Top winds, which were up to 60 mph, dropped to 50 mph in the latest advisory from the Natl Hurricane Center in Miami. Tropical storm-force winds extend up to 115 miles from the eye. Heavy rain will hit Puerto Rico through Tuesday and intense downpours are expected for Jamaica and southeast Cuba.
Forecasters project Noel will cross the eastern end of Cuba before turning northward toward the Bahamas. The government of the Bahamas has issued tropical storm watches for the southeastern Bahamas, including the Turks and Caicos Islands. Noel is presently not expected to become a hurricane, or become a threat to the United States.
At this point, Noel has not seriously impacted cruise travel in the Caribbean.