Omar Pounds Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

October 16, 2008
(11:45 a.m. EST) -- Hurricane Omar is weakening significantly as it continues its northeasterly path away from the Northern Leeward Islands. Maximum sustained winds have fallen to 85 miles per hour, and additional weakening is expected by the National Hurricane Center over the next two days.

Hurricane Omar pounded much of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with heavy rain and 125 mile per hour winds early this morning.

It is not clear on the extent of the damage as yet, but as the major Category Three Hurricane Omar moved away from San Juan, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center feared it could produce further life-threatening flash floods and mudslides as it moved northeast toward St. Martin.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Omar was located 70 miles from St. Martin.

It has been reported that officials in Puerto Rico had cancelled all commercial flights, public events and schools and shipping lanes were closed.

Numerous cruise lines have cancelled calls in the area, but there were no scheduled embarkations from San Juan.

Whether key beaches and attractions will suffer damage in these popular ports of call will be determined later.

The Associated Press also reported that when the storm slammed into St. Croix yesterday it knocked down trees, trapped people and even sank two 30ft boats in the harbor.

The storm has already impacted on cruise itineraries across the Southern Caribbean. For more details click here.

We'll keep you posted.

--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor