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Last Updated: Saturday October 22 2005 10:14 GMT

Wilma batters the Mexican coast

Hurricane Wilma continues to pound the Mexico coastline, with huge storm surges reaching the third floor of some buildings in the Cancun resort area.

Torrential rain and winds of up to 140mph (225km/h) knocked over houses, upturned trees and flooded streets.

The hurricane has been downgraded to a category three storm, but is still considered to be dangerous.

It is expected to hover over the Yucatan peninsula for 30 to 36 hours at the weekend, say Mexican officials.

Much of the Mexican city of Cancun has been left without electricity and only a limited telephone service. Even buildings thought to be hurricane proof have been damaged in the storm.

Many people there have been moved to emergency shelters, where conditions are said to be crowded and hot.

Officials say there are no reports of deaths so far.

Over in Cuba around 370,000 people have been forced to leave homes in the path of the hurricane.

And those living in Florida are evacuating the area ahead of the storm which is set to hit early next week.

Weather officials say the eye - or centre - of the storm is very big, and the fact that Wilma is slow moving makes it more dangerous.

Destruction

This year has seen one of the most destructive hurricane seasons.

Wilma is the 12th of the year, and only once since records began in 1851 have there been that many - in 1969.

Thousands of people have died in Central America already this month from landslides and floods following torrential rains brought by Hurricane Stan.

Hurricane Katrina caused devastation when it struck the southern United States in August.

Map of the area



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