Miami: Tropical Storm Tomas fizzled into a
tropical depression on Wednesday, even as forecasters predicted the
deadly storm could regain strength and barrel into
quake-ravaged Haiti in days.
Tomas tore across Saint Lucia on Saturday as a category
one hurricane on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, killing
at least 12 and wiping out the island`s key banana crop,
causing millions of dollars in damage.
At 17:30 IST today, the center of Tomas was some 660
kilometers southwest of the Haitian capital, Port-Au-Prince,
packing winds of 55 kilometres per hour and moving at seven
kilometres per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre
"Tomas weakens to a depression but is still expected
to re-strengthen," the NHC warned.
A hurricane watch was also in effect for Jamaica.
As Haiti prepared to evacuate tens of thousands ahead
of the storm, US naval commanders ordered the USS Iwo Jima, to
steam toward Haiti with humanitarian aid.
The amphibious ship is equipped with 10 helicopters
and a crew of 1,600, including medical and engineering teams,
ready to assist in relief efforts after the storm strikes, the
US Navy said in a statement.