Weakening Paloma blows through Cuba

Other News Materials 9 November 2008 20:44 (UTC +04:00)

What had been Hurricane Paloma Saturday night weakened into a tropical storm on Sunday as it hit the Caribbean island of Cuba, causing moderate damage as it continued its course over the island still rebuilding from two earlier-season hurricanes, dpa reported.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami, Florida reported that the government of the Bahamas, where the storm had been expected to hit next, had discontinued its tropical storm warning as Paloma dissipated.

US cable news channel CNN reported that Paloma had flooded Cuba's southern coast Sunday, sending sea-water a 1.5 kilometres inland, toppling a communications tower and damaging power and telephone infrastructure.

No reports of storm-related deaths were made. The NHC said that errors in predicting the path of the hurricane had been large and that no extended outlook for the storm's route could be made.

Paloma has already buffeted the Cayman Islands on its way to Cuba, but spared the islands heavy damage, according to local officials. The storm became a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea late Thursday.

In parts of the Cayman Islands roofs were sheared off and an airstrip was left under two feet of water.

Cuba was struck by two powerful hurricanes, Gustav and Ike, within just seven days of each other between August and September. The island was devastated, with an estimated 9 billion dollars in damages.

Paloma is the third hurricane and the fifth major tropical storm to hit Cuba this season.

It is the 16th storm in the current season - set to end November 30 in the Atlantic Ocean.