SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Tropical Storm Noel brought heavy rain and flooding to the Dominican Republic on Monday and officials said at least 20 people had died.
At least 20 other people were reported missing from the storm, which lashed Hispaniola, the island the country shares with Haiti, said Ramon Franco of the Dominican emergency services agency.
Noel was expected to drop as much as 20 inches of rain on Hispaniola before heading northwest toward the Bahamas.
Noel increased in strength with winds as high as 50 MPH.
Heavy flooding seems to have caught the island by surprise.
All forecast tracks show Noel moving to the northwest to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands before turning eastward and heading out to open seas. Depending how far east the storm comes before turning may require a tropical storm watch or warning for south Florida. None of the computer models predict that Noel will bring any relief to Georgia although some of the outer rim bands may help alleviate the drought situation there.
The AccuWeather Hurricane Center is predicting trouble all along the southeast coast.
The track of this storm does seem interesting. AccuWeather probably does the best job of showing the steering currents at the moment. As the diagram below shows, the high pressure that is coming off the east coast is setting up the primary driver for which direction Noel will go. If the high stalls on the coast and sets up the strong pressure gradient shown... it seems to me that the driving force will be to push Noel into the Gulf, or at least into Florida. None of the models show this possibility so I suspect it is very unlikely... but it just looks so obvious.
Of course if the high moves further out to sea (as is likely) then a conveyor pulling Noel northward will clearly form.
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