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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 05:20 GMT 06:20 UK
Hurricane kills four in Nicaragua
People pass partially destroyed homes after Hurricane Felix passed in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua
Puerto Cabezas was among the hardest hit by Hurricane Felix
Hurricane Felix has killed four people in Nicaragua and destroyed thousands of houses in Central America before weakening into a tropical storm.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said wind speeds had decreased to 85km/h (53mph) from 260km/h.

But the NHC warned that heavy rains were likely to produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Hurricane Felix's devastation comes just two weeks after Hurricane Dean killed more than 20 in the region.

Meanwhile another hurricane, Henriette, has hit Mexico's Baja peninsula, by the Pacific Ocean, with winds approaching 130km/h (80mph).

It struck Los Cabos, a popular tourist destination, generating 4.5m (15ft) waves and forcing the closure of airports.

Hurricane Felix hit land in north-east Nicaragua as a category-five hurricane - the maximum strength.

On Tuesday it caused widespread damage in the town of Puerto Cabezas, where winds tore the roofs off homes and shelters and damaged a church.

"My house felt like it was moving with the wind," resident Julio Mena told Reuters new agency.

A man stands next to where a palm tree fell on a car in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua
Hurricane Felix is the second Category 5 storm in two weeks

Four people, including a newborn girl were killed in and around the town.

Many of the region's 200,000 people live in poverty, and many people are believed to have lost their houses in the hurricane.

Felix weakened as it travelled west later on Tuesday.

However the storm is expected to bring heavy rains to southern Honduras and Guatemala, where hillside villages are vulnerable to mudslides.

Hurricane Felix comes only two weeks after the region was hit by Hurricane Dean.

It is the first time on record that two Atlantic hurricanes made landfall as category-five storms in a single season.

But although the two hurricanes killed more than 20 people and destroyed thousands of homes, their impact has been far less devastating than that of Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

That year, at least 10,000 people where killed across the region in floods and mudslides, in a storm that remains one of the deadliest on record.

Map showing paths of Felix and Henriette

Felix slams into Central America
04 Sep 07 |  Americas
Two years on, New Orleans stalls
30 Aug 07 |  Business
Hurricane churns up the Caribbean
19 Aug 07 |  Americas
Dean continues to batter Mexico
24 Aug 07 |  Americas
Regions and territories: Netherlands Antilles
22 Aug 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Aruba
25 May 07 |  Country profiles

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