September 9, 2008

Ike Sloshes Through Western Cuba

Hurricane Ike made a curtain call in western Cuba Tuesday, the day after it inundated the eastern side of the island with winds, rain and water surge.

Meanwhile the eyes of Texas were watching computer models of potential paths for the Category 1 hurricane and its 75-mph winds.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said at 5 p.m. Ike was centered just off the northern coast of western Cuba, moving west-northwest into the central Gulf of Mexico at about 10 mph.

The Category 1 storm was producing winds of about 75 mph and was expected to regain its former intensity as it maintains that course for the next day or so.

The killer storm's trajectory has officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, preparing for a serious wallop, KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi reported. Ike has already claimed 80 lives in the Caribbean, most of them in Haiti and at least four in Cuba where 1.2 million people were evacuated.

Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal said evacuation buses and ambulances were en route to Beeville, Texas, to help evacuate people, particularly those with special needs, the TV station reported.

The state has made arrangements to have water, ice and ready-to-eat-meals on standby if Ike strikes.

School officials in Aransas County have canceled classes for the remainder of the week as a precaution.

In addition, the Padre Island National Seashore has been closed.