(6:30 p.m. EDT) -- Hurricane Tomas, which left a trail of destruction in its march through the Windward Islands, weakened Sunday afternoon and is now a Category 1 storm with top winds of 75 mph. The long-range track through the end of the week places the storm near Haiti by Friday, though forecasters have backed off predictions that it would be a major hurricane at that point. According to the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. EDT update, Tomas is located about 265 miles west of St. Lucia . The storm is moving toward the west at 12 mph.
Tropical force winds extend out to 150 miles. Some additional weakening is possible over the next day. Tomas, the 12th hurricane of the Atlantic season, has thus far caused minimal disruption to cruise itineraries. But the islands in its path have not been as fortunate, with widespread media reports of injuries, possible fatalities, downed power lines and damage to homes on Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia. Island correspondents on StormCarib, a Web site that relays storm information, also report significant damage, including missing roofs, unmoored boats and blocked roads. According to the Miami Herald, officials in Haiti are bracing for the arrival of Tomas, which is expected to strengthen toward week's end. The country is still struggling after the devastating December earthquake (more than a million people remain in tent camps in the capital of Port-au-Prince) and is now grappling with a cholera epidemic.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
Carnival Miracle, which was scheduled to dock in St. Lucia on Saturday and St. Kitts on Sunday, instead spent the weekend at sea. To compensate, it will stop in Grand Turk on Monday and Nassau on Tuesday. Princess Cruises also made a change, sending Sea Princess to Barbados on Sunday instead of St. Lucia. We'll keep you posted on any other changes. Weather Outlook: Possible Affected Ships & Ports
All tropical storm watches and warnings have been dropped. Tomas is expected to be well into the central Caribbean by Monday morning.
--by John Deiner, Managing Editor