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Hurricane Lashes Cayman Islands

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 09, 2008 04:00 PM

Published: 2008-11-09 16:00:18
Countries: Cayman Islands

As reported on the BBC News

Hurricane Paloma has strengthened to a Category Four storm and is lashing the Cayman Islands with winds approaching 225km/h (140mph), authorities say.

Torrential rains and storm surges have caused flooding on the Cayman Islands and schools, offices and businesses have shut down as people take shelter.

At 1200 GMT yesterday, the storm was centred near Cayman Brac and moving north-east towards Cuba, said US forecasters. Paloma was expected to weaken before striking Cuba late Saturday or Sunday (today).

The US-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) warned that Paloma was "an extremely dangerous" hurricane. It has warned that flash floods and mudslides are likely, as well as storm surges 2.1m to 2.7m above normal tidal levels, with "large and dangerous battering waves".

Paloma is the 16th storm of the Atlantic storm season and the eighth hurricane. It has already brought heavy rain to parts of Honduras and Nicaragua.