Haiti Tropical Storm Noel formed over the Caribbean on Sunday and forecasters warned the slow-moving system could send flash floods rushing over deforested hills in Haiti before it heads on to Cuba.
The strengthening storm poses a serious threat to impoverished Haiti, which is still recovering from floods that killed at least 37 and sent more than 4,000 people to shelters this month.
Noel, the 14th named storm of the Atlantic season, had sustained winds of about 60 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. The outer bands of the tropical system was dumping heavy rains over the island of Hispaniola late Sunday.
The meandering storm was spinning north-northwest at roughly 5 mph, which would bring its center near the southeastern peninsula of Haiti early today. A tropical storm warning was issued for the entire Haitian coastline and parts of the Dominican Republic's southern coast.
Forecasters said Noel, with tropical storm force winds fanning 115 miles from its center, could drop 12 inches of water on Hispaniola, southeastern Cuba and Jamaica.
A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were issued for southeastern parts of Cuba, including the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay holding some 330 detainees.