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Capt. Frank Castillo, dock master of the Marina Casa de Campo in the southeastern tourist city of La Romana, and his crew helped boat owners secure their vessels in slips or pull them ashore.

In Puerto Rico, there were no reports of major damage or injuries and no immediate demand for the nearly 400 schools that were converted into emergency shelters around the island.

Gov. Luis Fortuno had declared a state of emergency and most government offices were closed. Ahead of the storm, people cleared water and other emergency supplies from store shelves and tourists fled the small Puerto Rican islands of Culebra and Vieques.

But most of the island saw no more than sporadic gusts and showers.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm was heading west at 14 mph (22 kph) Wednesday morning, and it was expected to veer later toward the northwest. The storm was about 145 miles (230 kilometers) south-southeast of Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. It had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the southeast Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in San Juan, Puerto Rico; David McFadden in Kingston, Jamaica; Ezequiel Lopez Blanco in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Raul Colon in San Juan contributed.