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Tropical Storm Noel Strengthens After Hitting Cuba


U.S. weather forecasters say Tropical Storm Noel has moved off the coast of Cuba and was strengthening as it headed north towards Florida and the Bahamas.

Earlier Tuesday, the storm brought heavy rains and high winds to Cuba and prompted the evacuation of thousands of people in its path.

Elsewhere, the storm triggered floods and mudslides on Hispaniola, an island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There are reports of at least 50 deaths on the island.

Forecasters say the Dominican Republic was hardest hit by Noel, which dumped up to 30 centimeters of rain in some areas.

The storm also left residents without power and destroyed roads, bridges and other infrastructure when it hit on Monday. It caused rivers to overflow their banks as well. Scores of homes have been destroyed.

Noel is the 14th named storm of this year's Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and runs through November 30.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.