Tropical storm Olga, a rare December cyclone, has caused major floods and landslides in the Caribbean, killing at least eight people, officials say.

Hardest-hit was the Dominican Republic, where at least seven died and thousands were forced to flee their homes. One person died in Puerto Rico.

The storm slammed into the region on Tuesday - 10 days after the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Olga is now expected to weaken into a tropical depression as it moves west.

At 1500 GMT on Wednesday it was centred about 120km (75 miles) south of Guantanamo, Cuba, forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami said.


In the Dominican Republic, at least seven people were killed and a number were still missing after the Yaque River burst its banks near the northern city of Santiago, officials said.

Heavy rains also forced the authorities to release water from a near-capacity dam in the already swollen river, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Some local residents later told a local radio station that they had not been warned of the water release, and officials acknowledged that this might have caused some of the deaths, AP said.

"We have an emergency situation. It's a catastrophe," provincial Governor Jose Izquierdo said.

In Puerto Rico, one man was killed by a rain-triggered landslide, officials said.

The storm also left tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans without power or water.

Serious damage was reported in Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. However, there were no immediate reports of fatalities.

The storm spared south-western areas of the Dominican Republic hit by Tropical Storm Noel six weeks ago, where dozens of people were killed.

After reaching winds of 60mph (75km/h) at its peak, Olga was weakening as it moved westwards, forecasters said.

It was only the 10th named storm to develop after the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season since records began in 1851.