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. Tropical Storm Olga's death toll in Caribbean reaches 25

by Staff Writers
Santo Domingo (AFP) Dec 13, 2007
The toll from Tropical Storm Olga's Caribbean rampage Thursday rose to 25 confirmed deaths, most in the Dominican Republic.

The worst hit was Santiago, the second largest city in the Dominican Republic, where 17 deaths were reported after rising waters forced authorities to release water from a dam into the already swollen Yaque river.

Most of the victims drowned in the floodwaters, authorities said.

A further five fatalities were reported elsewhere in the country.

Emergency shelters on Thursday housed a total of 6,215 people, while a further 28,265 people were forced to stay with friends or relatives, according to Juan Manuel Mendez, who heads the country's Emergency Operations Center.

Almost 7,600 homes were damaged and 137 communities were cut off by the storm and the rains that continued to pound the country well after the cyclone headed out to sea and dissipated.

In Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, Tropical Storm Olga killed at least two people, destroyed homes and uprooted trees, authorities said earlier.

In Puerto Rico, one man was killed Wednesday when his car was buried under a landslide near San Juan.

Olga's rampage came almost two weeks after the Atlantic hurricane season officially ended. It is rare for tropical storms to form after the November 30 end of the six-month season.

The Dominican Republic had already been hit hard by Tropical Storm Noel, which slammed the country in late October, killing at least 85 people.

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Climate's Remote Control On Hurricanes
Virginia Key FL (SPX) Dec 13, 2007
Natural climate variations, which tend to involve localized changes in sea surface temperature, may have a larger effect on hurricane activity than the more uniform patterns of global warming, a report in this week's Nature suggests. In the debate over the effect of global warming on hurricanes, it is generally assumed that warmer oceans provide a more favorable environment for hurricane development and intensification. However, several other factors, such as atmospheric temperature and moisture, also come into play.

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