Fierce hurricane nears Cuba - then U.S. coast

Fierce Hurricane Dennis was close to Cuba on Friday, after killing five people in Haiti, and forecasters predicted the Category 4 storm could intensify and make landfall in the U.S. anywhere from Louisiana to Florida by Sunday or Monday.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | July 7, 2005


Fierce Hurricane Dennis was close to Cuba on Friday, after killing five people in Haiti, and forecasters predicted the Category 4 storm could intensify and make landfall in the U.S. anywhere from Louisiana to Florida by Sunday or Monday.

By Friday morning, the storm - moving northwest near 12 mph - was packing 135-mph winds. Hurricane-force winds extended 50 miles from the storm's center with tropical storm force winds stretching another 140 miles.

Thousands of residents and tourists were evacuated from the Florida Keys on Thursday, and a hurricane warning was issued those islands. Tourists were urged to evacuate from Alabama's Gulf Coast.

Some faith-based and voluntary agencies were pre-staging supplies such as canteens and cleanup kits in the Florida Panhandle region and other Gulf Coast states.

Forecasters have warned people from Florida to Louisiana that Dennis could make landfall this weekend. Forecasters said Dennis would be between the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Florida's southern tip by Saturday morning.

Leaders of interfaith long-term recovery groups reported that blue tarps still cover many homes that need new roofs.

Dennis follows on the heels of Tropical Storm Cindy, which made landfall in Louisiana late Tuesday, bringing eight inches of rain and 70-mph winds.

Cindy has been blamed for the deaths of three people and flood damage in many states.


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