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Paloma weakens after Cuban landfall

  • Story Highlights
  • Hurricane Paloma shows signs on weakening as it crosses east-central Cuba
  • Parts of Cuba are still prone to life-threatening flash floods, mudslides
  • Nearly 100 people evacuated after storm damages shelter
  • Official: 90 percent of buildings on Cayman Brac were damaged by storm
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Paloma weakened to a Category 1 hurricane as it moved slowly across east-central Cuba after lashing Grand Cayman Island with high winds and heavy rain, forecasters said.

By 1 a.m. ET Sunday, the storm's winds dropped to near 100 mph (160 kph), the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said.

Paloma is expected to weaken further as it heads toward central Bahamas later on Sunday. The central and eastern parts of Cuba can expect five to 10 inches of rain, some which may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the Hurricane Center said.

Before making landfall in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba as a Category 4 storm, Paloma had dumped rain on Little Cayman and Cayman Brac -- the other two Cayman Islands -- and assailed them with sustained winds of up to 140 mph (225 kph) and higher gusts.

About 100 people evacuated a shelter on one of the Cayman Islands after Paloma's heavy winds and rain caved in part of the structure's roof, said Paulette Conolly, deputy director of Radio Cayman.

Conolly said the residents were moved to another refuge after their shelter became one of the many buildings damaged by the storm. iReport.com: Are you in Paloma's path?

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District Commissioner Ernie Scott said 90 percent of the buildings on Cayman Brac were damaged and about 500 people had taken refuge in shelters.

Paloma also flooded crops and downed trees on the main island of Grand Cayman, but there were few reports of damage to buildings in that area.

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