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article imageHurricane Paloma Weakens To Tropical Storm After Slamming Into Cuba As A Cat 4

By Nikki Weingartner     Nov 9, 2008 in World
After spinning itself up to a Category 4 hurricane on Saturday with winds of 145 mph, Paloma dropped down to a dangerous Cat 3 after it pounded Cuba's Santa Cruz del Sur. She rocked Cayman on Saturday as a Cat 3, causing damage.
Hurricane Paloma slammed into the already storm ravaged country of Cuba on Sunday, bringing a high storm surge that moved inland over a mile into an area with some 10,000 homes. Nearly 400,000 people were either moved to higher ground or evacuated before the dangerous storm approached, following the communist government's "highly organized civil defense system" having been alerted.
After striking the coast of Cuba as a Category 4, Paloma dropped to a Category 3 and then weakened rapidly to a Tropical Storm, as reported by the National Hurricane Center in Miami and on The Weather Channel.
The Cuban weather service downgraded the storm even more, calling it less than a "tropical depression."
Cuba is still recovering from Gustav and Ike, both of which caused extensive damage to the country. Combined destruction included damage to some 450,000 homes and 1/3 of their crops. Gustav and Ike also brought forth approximately $8 million US of damage to the already struggling Cuban economy.
A newspaper in Cuba referenced Paloma as a "potential danger," comparing it to a killer late-season storm in 1932 that killed 3,000.
So far, there have been no deaths reported in either the Cayman Islands or Cuba.
Forecasters expect the once Category 4 turned Tropical Storm again to completely deteriorate.
Paloma is forecas to slowly move northward remaining over Cuba through this evening. That should continue the rapid weakening trend. Paloma may be a depression later today or tonight.
Paloma was the eighth hurricane of the predicted dangerous 2008 season, which ends November 30.
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