Tropical Storm Noel Blamed for 8 Deaths in Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Officials in the Dominican Republic say at least eight people are dead in the fierce thunderstorms and flooding brought by Tropical Storm Noel.

At least three others are missing as the rain continues to lash the island that the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti.

The storm is expected to drop as much as 20 inches of rain on the island today before heading northwest toward the Bahamas.

The prime minister of Haiti says there are no reports yet of casualties in his country. But he's urging people to seek shelter, and he says airports will be closed all day.

He says the storm is "moving very slowly and dropping a lot of rain."

Haiti is prone to deadly flooding because of its steep mountains and its deforested hillsides. But it often takes a while for damage reports to reach authorities in the capital.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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