Powerful Paloma threatens storm-weary Cuba - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Powerful Paloma threatens storm-weary Cuba

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Associated Press - November 8, 2008 6:13 PM ET

HAVANA (AP) - Cuba is bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Paloma, now an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. Farmers are rushing to protect crops and livestock.

At last report, Paloma was centered about 35 miles southwest of Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba. The storm was packing top sustained winds of 145 miles an hour.

Paloma's outer rain bands began striking the southern coast of Cuba after the storm knocked out power across much of Grand Cayman Island. A hurricane warning is in effect across Cuba's central and eastern provinces.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Paloma is expected to begin moving in on the Cuban coast tonight with little change in strength until landfall. Then it should steadily weaken for the next day or two. Forecasters say Cuba can expect five to 10 inches of rain and a potentially catastrophic storm surge with large, battering waves.

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