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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gustav death toll rises to 59

Tropical Storm Gustav took a sharp left turn in the Caribbean and struck Jamaica with fury. Roofs were torn off and entire villages flooded from 50 - 60 MPH winds and heavy rains. The death toll in Haiti rose to 51 from heavy flooding and mudslides.

Tropical Storm Gustav nears hurricane strength
Meanwhile, Hanna becomes the eighth named storm of the season
(Wall Street Journal)

Forecasters warned of potential flash floods and mudslides with Gustav expected
to produce 6 to 12 inches of rain across Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.


Gustav claims 59 lives in Haiti and Dominican Republic (CBC News)

On Thursday afternoon, Gustav was 65 kilometres off Jamaica but already lashing the island with tropical storm-force winds. U.S. forecasters said it could grow to a hurricane before hitting the low-lying capital of Kingston on Thursday night.

Forecasters said parts of Jamaica could get 635 millimetres of rain, which could trigger landslides and cause serious crop damage. Authorities told fisherman to stay ashore, and hotel workers secured beach umbrellas in the resort city of Montego Bay.
Jamaican authorities ordered residents to evacuate low-lying areas including Portmore, a crowded and flood-prone area outside Kingston, and move into shelters. Kingston's main airport was closed and buses stopped running even as people streamed into supermarkets for emergency supplies.

The storm is expected to pick up more strength from the warm waters south of Cuba and hug Jamaica's southern shore before making an almost direct hit on the Cayman Islands by late Friday, likely as a strong Category 1 hurricane.

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