Hurricane Noel loses strength as it heads to eastern Canada

Hurricane Noel, the year's deadliest storm in the Atlantic region, was losing strength as it headed north toward Nova Scotia on Friday.

Hurricane Noel, the year's deadliest storm in the Atlantic region, was losing strength as it headed north toward Nova Scotia on Friday.

This image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Noel as it passes 290 kilometres north-northeast of Nassau, Bahamas, at 1:31 a.m. ET Friday. ((NOAA/Associated Press))

The Category 1 hurricane's sustained winds were at 129 km/h on Friday. Noel is moving to the north-northeast at about27 km/h but was expected to pick up speed.

Noel is expected to be a post-tropical storm by the time it reaches the Maritimes but Environment Canada's Peter Bowyer stillcalled it a "dangerous" storm.

The Caribbean storm did most of its damage as a tropical storm before being raised on Thursday to a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest level on the Saffir/Simpson scale.

The death toll rose early Friday to 115, making it this year's deadliest storm in the Atlantic region. In early September, Category 5 storm Hurricane Felix killed 101 when it slammed into the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts.

Before it hits the Atlantic provinces over the weekend, Noel is expected to become an extratropical storm, meaning it draws its energy from the collision of warm and cold fronts rather than the steamy ocean waters that tropical systems feed on.

1 death blamed on storm in Bahamas

The storm drenchedCuba and the Bahamas Thursday. In Cuba, soldiers went door-to-door evacuating tens of thousands of people from their homes, according to media reports, but there was no official word of deaths.

A housing project in the Bajo Yuna community is flooded in central Dominican Republic on Thursday. ((Franklin Guerrero/Associated Press))

In Ciego de Avila province in central Cuba, flooding wiped out more than 1,800 tonnes of corn, potato, banana, cucumber and tomato harvests, an official said.

The storm brought a record 38 centimetres of rain to the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said. Flooding killed at least one man in the Bahamas and forced almost 400 people to be evacuated from their homes.

Residents of Andros Island, one of the least-developed in the Bahamas, hunkered down as Noel's winds howled and rain pelted windowpanes.

"The walls were rattling but we rode it out pretty well," said Angela Newton, who was waiting Thursday for the power to come back on.

Dominican Republic still rescuing those stranded

In the hardest-hit country, the Dominican Republic, rescuers piled into helicopters and boats Thursday to try to reach residents stranded by the storm for the first time in three days.

"We will go to each point where there have been people affected who require the government's help … so that we can return to a normal situation in the shortest amount of time possible," said Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez.

More than three days of heavy rain caused an estimated $30 million in damages to the Dominican Republic's rice, plantain and cacao plantations, said Economy Minister Juan Temistocles Montas.

Fernandez declared a state of emergency and asked for international help.

At least 73 were dead in the Dominican Republic and 40 in Haiti, where the majority of bodies were found in and around the capital of Port-au-Prince. One person was killed in Jamaica.

With files from the Associated Press