One death blamed on Hurricane Lenny; still threatens Caribbean

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 16 Nov 1999
MIAMI, Nov 16 (AFP) - Hurricane Lenny continued moving eastward across the Caribbean, leaving one dead and nine missing in Colombia and beginning to threaten Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

A Colombian soldier was killed Monday when a beam lifted by Lenny's powerful winds struck him in the town of Solamina, in Magdalena province, according to official statements broadcast by Colombia's Caracol radio.

Nine people were missing off the Magdalena coast after two boats were destroyed by massive waves whipped up by Lenny's winds.

Tides higher than normal caused most of the damage along Colombia's Caribbean coast, leaving at least 1,200 homes and many businesses flooded, the reports said.

And the winds and rain brought by Lenny have caused extensive damage to crops, the civil defense authority of Colombia's northern Bolivar province said.

Lenny spared Jamaica Monday as its eye bypassed the island, according to the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center (NHC). Jamaica lifted its hurricane alert Monday afternoon.

But NHC forecasters expected Lenny to bring heavy rains to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, although the worst weather around the eye should remain well offshore.

A US reconnaissance plane surveyed the hurricane, meteorologist Max Mayfield told AFP. Lenny had weakened, but it could regain some strength during the next 12-24 hours, the NHC said.

At 0300 GMT, Tuesday, Lenny was centered 505 kilometers (315 miles) southwest of Santo Domingo, with winds near 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, the center said.

The hurricane was moving east at 22 kilometers (14 miles) per hour, and was expected to move to the east-northeast later Tuesday, the NHC said.

Haitian authorities on Monday decreed a state of alert in three provinces along the south of the island, setting aside some one million dollars of emergency funding for any hurricane damage.

The Dominican Republic also declared a hurricane watch for its southern coast and issued a hurricane warning from Cabo Beata to Cabo Engano.

Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin islands declared hurricane warnings.

The NHC forecasts that Lenny could still be at hurricane force when it reaches the Caribbean south of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where it is expected to cause heavy rains by Wednesday.

Lenny was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane on Sunday.

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AFP

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