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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
New hurricane heads for Cuba
Residents of Bull Bay, Jamaica, struggle to cross a flooded street
In Jamaica flooding created rivers out of roads
A major storm which has already killed eight people in the Caribbean is strengthening as it approaches western Cuba.

Tropical storm Lili was upgraded to a hurricane by US forecasters at 1500 GMT on Monday, as its winds hit 75 mph (120 kph).

At that time it was centred near Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands.

Man herding cattle in Cuba to safer pastures
Cuba evacuated livestock to higher areas
Cuba has already been hit by heavy rains, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people from the eastern side of the island and the removal of livestock to higher areas for their safety.

It is expected to hit the western provinces of Matanzas, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth early on Tuesday.

It comes less than two weeks after Cuba was battered by Hurricane Isidore, which caused heavy damage in the country before moving to Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, killing four people and leaving seven fishermen unaccounted for.

Jamaica deaths

At least four people, including a three-year-old child, died on Sunday in Jamaica, swept away by flood waters.

Woman in Barbados surveys the wreckage of her home following tropical storm Lili
Lili has already caused severe damage in Barbados

Winds brought down trees and power lines and floods swept away several homes, severely damaging dozens more and turning formerly busy roads into rivers.

In Bull Bay, dozens of people had to be lifted off the roofs of their submerged homes by a military helicopter.

The nearby Cayman Islands also issued a hurricane warning.

The US National Hurricane Centre said that the storm's current path would take it across western Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico as early as Tuesday.

Energy companies have began to evacuate workers from oil drilling platforms.

US forecasters have also warned residents in US coastal towns from Texas to Florida that Lili may hit later on in the week.

Hurricane season

Lili - the fourth hurricane of the season - also caused four deaths in St Vincent and the loss of more than 400 homes in Barbados.

The Atlantic hurricane season typically lasts from June to November.

However, storms which form later in the season tend to be more slow-moving, giving them more time to gather force and cause heavy rains and potentially deadly floods.

See also:

26 Sep 02 | Americas
23 Sep 02 | Americas
21 Aug 01 | Americas
12 Nov 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
25 Sep 02 | Americas
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
Links to more Americas stories are at the foot of the page.


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