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Florida braces for hurricane as storm claims life in Haiti

by editor2
August 29th, 2006

Florida was bracing itself for the season’s first hurricane after Cuba took a battering from furious winds and torrential rain.Tropical storm Ernesto is expected to turn into a category 2 hurricane with winds in excess of 74mph as it crosses the warm waters of the Florida Straits, setting its sights on landfall later today anywhere from Key West to Miami.

Residents in the south of the state went through the familiar routine of boarding up windows and stocking up on water and food as they prepared for the eighth hurricane strike in Florida in two years. “It certainly looks like it’s going to impact a significant portion of Florida before it’s all over,” said Max Mayfield, director of the national hurricane centre in Miami.

Jeb Bush, Florida’s governor, declared a state of emergency for the entire state. “It sounds like a broken record, but if families fortify their homes and shelter in place with food and water to get through the first 72 hours, the community will recover that much quicker,” he said.

Tourists and mobile home residents have been evacuated from the Florida Keys, the 150 mile-long low-lying chain of islands.

Yesterday, Ernesto struck Cuba close to Guantánamo Bay after causing devastating floods and mudslides in Haiti, destroying dozens of houses and claiming at least one life. Authorities in Ile-à-Vache, a tiny island off Haiti’s south-west coast, said an elderly woman died when huge waves crashed on her house.

The largely deforested country is prone to flash floods and is still recovering from Hurricane Jeanne two years ago, which killed more than 3,000 people and swamped thousands of acres of farmland.

Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,1860218,00.html

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