Noel strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic on Thursday after slamming the Caribbean with heavy
rains, flooding and mudslides that left at least 108 dead.
The storm moved away from the Bahamas archipelago, becoming a Category 1 hurricane packing maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (121 kph), US National Hurricane Center forecasters said.
Noel drenched the Bahamas and Cuba on Thursday while in the storm's wake rescuers in the Dominican Republic headed out in boats and helicopters to reach dozens of communities stranded by floods and mudslides.
Rescuers in Dominican Republic set out in helicopters and boats to reach isolated residents, stranded for three days.
AP Television footage shot above Villariva and Arenoso showed large residential areas devastated by flood waters.
Some buildings were flooded to the rooftops. Others were submerged.
In Yuma Abajo and Maimon, locals struggled with washed-out roads and raging torrents of flood waters that blocked their way.
At least 72-thousand Dominicans had been forced to flee their homes, according to a spokesperson for the Emergencies Commission.
Noel on Thursday became the deadliest storm of the Atlantic region this year as the death toll in the Caribbean rose to 108.
Hurricane Felix, a devastating Category 5 storm, killed 101 people when it lashed the Caribbean and slammed into the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts in early September.
More than three days of heavy rain caused an estimated 30 (m) million US dollars in damages to the Dominican Republic's rice, plantain and cacao plantations, according to the Minister of Economy Juan Temistocles Montas.
Rescuers in Hispaniola - the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti - found a rising toll of death and damage.
At least 66 were dead in the Dominican Republic and 16 more deaths were tallied in Haiti overnight since nightfall, bringing the toll to 40 according to a spokesperson for Haiti's civil protection agency.
Most of the bodies were found in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince.
One person was killed in Jamaica.
Dominican President Leonel Fernandez declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days and asked for international help, especially rescue teams and helicopters.
At 5pm EDT (2100 GMT), Noel's centre was accelerating through the Bahamas, according to US forecasters.
It was moving north-northeast at roughly 14 mph (22 kph), and maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph (100 kph).
Interests along the US East coast were advised to monitor the system's progress.
Over the next 24 hours, Noel was expected to become an extra-tropical storm, which gets its energy from the collision of warm and cold fronts, not the steamy ocean waters that tropical systems feed on.