Tropical Storm Noel Blamed for 20 Deaths

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Tropical Storm Noel is headed toward the Bahamas after leaving a trail of destruction and death in the Dominican Republic.

Officials say flooding and mudslides killed at least 20 people in the Dominican Republic and left another 20 missing.

Forecasters also say a tropical storm watch may be issued for southeast Florida later in the day.

The spinning tropical storm had been forecast to hit Haiti hardest but veered toward the Dominican Republic, apparently catching residents off guard yesterday.

Noel temporarily knocked out the Dominican Republic's entire power system, plunging more than nine million people into the dark for about two hours.

International aid workers believe the death toll is certain to rise as reports come in from remote areas of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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


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