Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monstrous Hurricane Gustav Roared Across The Island And Into The Oil-Rich Gulf of Mexico

Waves caused by the approaching Hurricane Gustav hit the sea front of Havana's 'Malecon' , Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008. Gustav swelled to a fearsome Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph (195 kph) as it shrieked toward the heartland of Cuba's cigar industry Saturday on a track to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast, three years after Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco/Prensa Latina)

Cubans returned from shelters to find flooded homes and washed-out roads Sunday, but no deaths were reported after a monstrous Hurricane Gustav roared across the island and into the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. About 250,000 Cubans were evacuated before Gustav made landfall on Cuba's Isla de la Juventud, then again on the Cuban mainland in the region that produces much of the tobacco used to make the nation's famed cigars. It was just short of top-scale Category 5 hurricane with screaming 140 mph (220 kph) winds as it moved across the island, toppling telephone poles and fruit trees, shattering windows and tearing off the tin roofs of homes. A Cuban television reporter on the Isla de la Juventud said the storm had felt like "the blast wave from a bomb." Buildings without windows, without doors and few trees remain standing. Many people were injured on the island of 87,000 people. Nearly all the island's roads were washed out and some regions were heavily flooded.

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