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Arlene creeps toward Gulf

As Tropical Storm Arlene began brushing western Cuba on Thursday afternoon, emergency response officials began warning Gulf Coast residents to prepare for a U.S. landfall over the weekend.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | June 9, 2005

As Tropical Storm Arlene began brushing western Cuba on Thursday afternoon, emergency response officials began warning Gulf Coast residents to prepare for a U.S. landfall over the weekend.

Arlene had 40-mph winds on Thursday after strengthening from a tropical depression that formed Wednesday.

The storm, moving north at about 8 mph, was expected to hit Cuba as early as Thursday night. Cuba issued a tropical storm watch for the western province of Pinar Del Rio to the capital of Havana.

Wind and rain extend 150 miles from the storm to the north and east.

Residents from the Florida Panhandle to Louisiana were told to monitor the stormís track. Heavy rainfall and flooding were the biggest concerns because the storm could drop 5 to 10 inches of rain. There was still an outside chance Arlene could strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for all of south Florida, effective until Friday evening.

Faith-based and voluntary agencies reported they were watching the stormís path carefully. While some people might breath a sigh of relief if Arlene does not become a hurricane, others remember extensive damage caused by tropical storms in the past, particularly in Florida and Texas.


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