Tweet (6:12 p.m. EDT) -- Although Tomas has been downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, it is expected to regain strength, prompting the U.S. Department of State to issue a travel alert to Haiti, home to Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee. In addition, Jamaica is now under a hurricane watch. According to the National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. EDT update, Tomas is currently located about 395 miles south-southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and 345 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. Maximum sustained winds are 40 mph. The storm is moving toward the west at 14 mph. Citing the NHC report, the State Department has issued a travel alert for Haiti, which could begin experiencing the effects of the storm by Thursday.
The alert says, "Even storms that do not reach hurricane strength have caused widespread damage and loss of life in Haiti in recent years. U.S. citizens who nevertheless plan travel to Haiti should defer travel until Tropical Storm Tomas has passed."
Those who choose to travel to Haiti despite the alert are encouraged to register their itinerary on the State Department's Web site. A travel warning that was issued as a result of the devastating earthquake Haiti experienced last December is also still in effect.
More than a million people remain in tent camps in the capital of Port-au-Prince and the country is now grappling with a cholera epidemic.
Several Caribbean islands have been affected by Tomas, the 12th named hurricane of the season. There have been 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.
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 stopped in Grand Turk on Monday and Nassau on Tuesday. Carnival Victory, which was scheduled to stop in St. Lucia on Thursday, November 4, will now spend the day at sea.
Freedom of the Seas replaced yesterday's sea day with a visit to CocoCay, and instead of calling in Labadee today the ship will remain at sea.
Serenade of the Seas departed from San Juan for a Southern Caribbean cruise on Sunday, and rather than calling on Curacao, Aruba and Dominica, the ship will now visit Barbados, Antigua, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
P&O's Ventura will skip its scheduled call in St. Lucia tomorrow, and will instead call in Dominica.
We'll keep you posted on any other changes.
Weather Outlook: Possible Affected Ships & Ports
The government of Jamaica has issued a hurricane watch for the island. In addition, the NHC suggests that Tomas could pose a "significant threat" to Haiti and the Dominican Republic later in the week.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer
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Tropical Storm Tomas Prompts U.S. to Issue Travel Alert for Haiti
November 2, 2010