Update: Hurricane Omar Churns Through the Caribbean

October 15, 2008
(11 p.m.) -- Hurricane Omar has strengthened into a major hurricane, and it continues to barrel toward the Virgin Islands. Maximum sustained winds have risen to 115 miles per hour, and the storm is currently 105 miles west-southwest of St. Maarten/St. Martin. Omar is moving at 20 m.p.h. and is expected to pass just east of the Virgin Islands in the next few hours.

After soaking the Southern Caribbean, and taking down trees and power lines, Hurricane Omar continues to surge through the Atlantic toward the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. With maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour, the increasingly well-organized storm is now a Category One hurricane. Additional strengthening is forecast over the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In response, cruise lines including Princess, Disney, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival have been diverting ships from the storm's path. You can find the latest itinerary changes here.

Islands in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean are closely following the progress of Omar, and hurricane watches or warnings are in effect for places including Antigua, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Barth's and Puerto Rico.

The storm is currently located about 235 miles south-southwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Stay tuned.

--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor