Hurricane Noel Toll Hits 108

Furious storm slammed Caribbean, but is expected to spare Florida
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2007 3:54 AM CDT
A housing project in the Bajo Yuna community is flooded in central Dominican Republic, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007. Tropical Storm Noel drenched the Bahamas on Thursday while in the storm's wake rescuers in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tropical storm Noel was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane last night, and has claimed 108 lives, making it the deadliest Atlantic storm this year. The island of Hispaniola suffered nearly all the fatalities, with 66 reported in the Dominican Republic and 40 in Haiti, most of them in or near the capital of Port-au-Prince.

At least 62,500 Dominicans are displaced, and the country lost $30 million worth of crops. Flooding in Cuba forced the evacuation of 24,000 people, damaged 2,000 homes, and destroyed 2,000 tons of crops. In the Bahamas, about 400 were evacuated and the Nassau Airport was shut down, but it's expected to reopen today. Tropical storm warnings and watches were canceled for Florida.