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Monday, September 21, 1998 Published at 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK

World: Americas

Hurricane Georges still a threat

Tourists in Antigua watch as the wind whips up waves

A powerful hurricane which has hit islands in the north-eastern Caribbean is weakening, but still poses a threat.

The United States National Weather Service says the storm has passed over the French territory of Guadeloupe, where it caused some damage but no deaths, and is now moving north-west towards the islands of Montserrat and Antigua.

[ image:  ]
The governor of Puerto Rico, which also lies in the predicted path of the storm, has declared a state of emergency and has activated the National Guard to patrol streets.

The hurricane has brought with it fierce winds, whipping up the sea, and bringing heavy rain.

The National Hurricane Centre in Miami has warned people that if they are "anywhere in the warning area, you should prepare for the worst."

In other islands, storm force winds have been felt, and people have gone into basements and shelters to escape the full force of Hurricane Georges, gusting at more than 200 kmh.

Michelle Huber of Miami's National Hurricane Centre reports on the storm's progress
According to Michelle Huber of the National Hurricane Centre, it has weakened and is now a Force Three hurricane but will remain "very dangerous" for at least the next 24 hours.

On Antigua, one of the islands on the hurricane's predicted route, local people woke up to see storm clouds gathering.

They reported howling winds and mountainous seas whipping up as the eye of the storm approached.

In a radio address, Prime Minister Lester Bird urged the island to prepare for its third major hurricane in four years.

[ image: Infrared image of the hurricane bearing down on Guadeloupe]
Infrared image of the hurricane bearing down on Guadeloupe
People throughout the islands have been preparing for the hurricane by barricading property and stocking up on supplies.

The French Government said it would send 16 tonnes of equipment and two rescue teams of 40 people to its territories to help with the expected mammoth clear-up operation.

Independence Day celebrations in Nevis have also been cancelled.

Montserrat prepares

Montserrat's governor has told the 4,000 people still left on the island after its volcanic eruptions that they must get ready to be hit.

People have been stocking up on water and food after experiencing the full force of Hurricane Hugo.

The island's lone helicopter has made its last flight and the ferry that normally links the community to Antigua has departed for safer waters.

Officials at the island's emergency centre said the prospect of being struck by 140 mph winds did not bear thinking about.

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American Red Cross: Are You Ready for a Hurricane?

National Hurricane Centre: Hurricane Georges updates


University of Wisconsin-Madison: Hurricane Georges

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Animated Satellite images of Hurricane Georges

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