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Gustav weakens after lashing western Cuba

Gustav weakens after lashing western Cuba
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Hurricane Gustav’s battering of Cuba appears to have deprived it of some its force. It has been reduced to a Category 3 storm after sweeping across the west of the Carribbean island. However, experts warn it is likely to gain in strength again as it heads towards the southern US states.

Gustav damaged buildings and felled trees in Cuba but did not add to the death toll of around 80. The storm has caused even worse destruction in Jamaica, the Dominican Republican and Haiti, where most of the casualties occurred.

It is now rolling across the Gulf of Mexico, where energy companies are bracing for damage to some 4,000 oil and gas platforms. These were badly hit by Hurricane Katrina three years ago and most have been evacuated and shut down.

In countries lashed by the hurricane, the clean-up is underway. But the respite might be short-lived. People are bracing themselves for another blast of extreme weather. Tropical Storm Hanna is brewing in the the Atlantic and could follow the same route as Gustav.