September 9, 2008

Weakened Ike Makes Return to Cuba

Hurricane Ike, with winds of about 80 mph, visited Cuba for a second time Tuesday, making landfall in Pinar del Rio province, Miami forecasters said.

The Category 1 storm brought the western portion of the island nation damaging winds, rain and a flooding storm surge, reported. Hurricane warnings remained posted in western Cuba.

Ike's center was about 55 miles southwest of Havana, Cuba, the Hurricane Center in Miami said in its midday advisory. It was moving west-northwest at about 13 mph, and was expected to continue along that path for at least a day. Ike's center was expected to move into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday afternoon.

The Florida Keys remained under a tropical storm warning, as forecasters said the outermost bands of Ike will nip South Florida through Wednesday. said dangerous surf and rip currents will persisted along Florida's east coast Tuesday while the surf western side of the peninsula will churn up as Ike heads westward.

Once Ike hits the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico it should regain strength, possibly becoming at least a Category 3 hurricane before a U.S. landfall, said.