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Last Updated: Sunday October 23 2005 11:07 GMT

Six dead as Wilma pounds Mexico

An area of Cancun flooded by Wilma
At least six people have died as Hurricane Wilma continues to pound the coast of Mexico.

The storm has flooded the resort of Cancun, cutting off roads, flattening homes and leaving much of the area without electricity.

Tens of thousands of people are now sheltering in overcrowded schools and gymnasiums in the area.

Weather forecasters say Wilma has weakened, but might get stronger again as it slowly heads towards Florida.

On Saturday officials on the Florida Keys ordered 80,000 people to evacuate the islands before the storm hits late on Sunday or Monday.

Trees downed by Wilma
But many people ignored the advice, preferring to sit out the storm at home.

Hundreds of residents have also been moved from the western Cuban coast, which has experienced torrential rain caused by a tornado that spun off from Wilma.

New tropical storm

Meanwhile another tropical storm called Alpha has formed in the Caribbean, meaning 2005 is the busiest hurricane season on record.

It takes the number of storms named in the Atlantic to 22 this year.

That makes it the first time forecasters had to use the Greek alphabet for names in almost 60 years.

The hurricane season, which ends on 30 November, still has five weeks left to run.

Satellite image of Hurricane Wilma and Tropical Storm Alpha (2100 GMT Saturday)

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