Hurricane Ike has weakened over Cuba, but forecasters warn it could pick up strength as it moves towards the US. Ike has been downgraded to a “Category 2” storm, but is bringing torrential rain and massive waves to northeastern Cuba. Hundreds of thousands have fled to shelters or higher ground.
The storm is now spinning towards the US oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico and possibly New Orleans.
Over the weekend Ike was listed as a “Category 3 storm. It left some 60 people dead in Haiti, on top of an estimated 500 killed there by recent Tropical Storm Hanna. And across the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, homes have been torn apart and crops wiped out.
In the Dominican Republic, the Governor of San Jose de Ocoa, Roberto Mejia, said: “This is an emergency, a critical situation. There has been destruction of private and public property,
significant damage in agriculture and damage to local aquaducts.”
Many of the places hit by the recent storms were only just starting to clean up after the devastating Hurricane Gustav that hit last week.