Cuba holidays no longer on hurrican alert as Paula becomes a weakened storm
After hurricane Paula was downgraded to a category 1 tropical storm yesterday, Cuba now expects its weakened passing with some scattered heavy rains in the most western-point of the island, having very little impact on the island's eastern beach resorts.
Today, minor amounts of scattered rains and moderate winds are likely to affect Cuba's most western-point cities like Havana and Pinar del Rio, causing minimal disruption to those already enjoying Cuba holidays there and giving a white flat to those that had planned travel to the island in the following days.
Since yesterday Cuba holidays are no longer on "hurricane watch" but on "storm alert" now as weakened Paula approaches the western tip of the island. The island had put residents on alert Wednesday as a weakened Hurricane Paula neared the island after drenching Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, officials said.
The storm, which was downgraded to category 1 earlier in the day, was on track to hit western portions of Cuba and en route to the Florida Keys, forecasters said, which put Cancun holidays out of the danger zone as the hurricane diverted its path.
Cuba's civil defence called on coastal residents in Pinar del Rio to take precautions and said the storm may also cause damage to the capital city Havana, the provinces of La Habana and the Isle of Youth.
Paula was expected to bring at least three (seven centimetres) to six inches (15 centimetres) of rain to Cuba, with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches (25 centimetres), it added. The centre also said a hurricane warning was in effect for Cuba's Pinar del Rio province and tropical storm warning for other sections of Cuba. However those enjoying beach holidays in Cuba in the eastern side of the country are not likely to be affected by the unsettled, rainy climate.
Earlier, Mexico had lifted its highest red-level alert after the storm swept within miles (kilometres) of resort areas where some 27,000 tourists were staying, causing no serious damage and welcoming travellers back to safe Cancun holidays.
"The hurricane came very close but didn't cause major damage to the coastlines," said Felix Gonzalez, governor of southeastern Quintana Roo state.
Paula could be the first hurricane of the Atlantic season to make landfall in Cuba, which was slammed in 2008 by a trio of major hurricanes, causing some 10 billion dollars in damage.
Paula is the ninth hurricane of the June-through-November Atlantic season. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had predicted an especially stormy 2010, with 14 to 23 named storms for this season, including eight to 14 hurricanes.
So far, on average, there are 11 named storms, six of which become hurricanes.
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