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Jamaica Escapes Worst of Hurricane Ivan - 2004-09-11


Hurricane Ivan continues to pound Jamaica Saturday, but it appears the Caribbean island nation has escaped the worst of the Category Four storm.

Forecasters say the eye of the hurricane "wobbled" or drifted west of the capital city of Kingston just as it approached landfall in the early morning hours. But the island still sustained heavy flooding, downed trees, property damage and power outages.

Ivan is now heading toward the Cayman Islands with maximum sustained winds of 240 kilometers an hour, and could grow into a Category Five storm by the time it reaches landfall early Sunday morning.

Ivan has killed more than two dozen people throughout the Caribbean, mostly in Grenada, where at least 17 people have died. Authorities say those numbers could rise.

Forecasters say the storm could hit Cuba by late Sunday and the lower islands of the U.S. state of Florida by Monday.

Nearly 80,000 people have been evacuated from the Florida Keys over the last several days.

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