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Hurricane Tomas Strengthens, Haiti at Risk

This image provided by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Tomas, lower center, taken early Saturday morning 30 Oct 2010

Hurricane Tomas is gaining strength as it moves deeper into the Caribbean Sunday, after tearing off roofs, downing powerlines and dropping up to 15 centimeters of rain across Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia.

No deaths have been reported on those islands, but hundreds of people took refuge in shelters as 150 kilometer per hour winds tore at buildings and rain-soaked hillsides slid across roads.

Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center say Tomas has the potential to strengthen into a major storm as it moves westward toward Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Winds are now at 160 kilometers per hour.

Tomas could bring heavy rains across the southern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, which is struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake and cope with a recent cholera outbreak.

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