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Hurricane Gustav batters Cuba

CubagustavWhile New Orleans is bracing for Hurricane Gustav and evacuating residents, Cuba already has begun mopping up the damage from the violent storm.

"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," the Associated Press reports.

"Gustav hit the Isla de la Juventud south of the Cuban mainland just short of a top-scale Category 5 hurricane with screaming 140 mph (220 kph) winds that toppled telephone poles and fruit trees, shattered windows and leveled some homes.

"Authorities evacuated 250,000 residents nationwide. In Pinar del Rio, the western tobacco-producing region, highways were blocked by fallen trees and downed power lines, and all public transportation ground to a halt."

"Officials measured gusts of 212 mph (340 kph) in the western town of Paso Real del San Diego -- a new national record for maximum wind speed in a country often hit by major hurricanes, said Miguel Angel Hernandez of the Cuban Institute of Meteorology."

-- Reed Johnson in Mexico City

Photo: A woman stands inside her home, destroyed by Hurricane Gustav in Los Palacios, Cuba, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008. 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. Credit: Javier Galeano / Associated Press

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