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9206: Tropical Storm Iris (fwd)

From: JRAuguste1@aol.com

Iris Gains Deadly Strength

.c The Associated Press

BARAHONA, Dominican Republic (AP) - Tropical Storm Iris strengthened into a 
hurricane Saturday, triggering mudslides that killed three people in the 
Dominican Republic and lashing Haiti with winds and rains as it threatened to 
hit Jamaica. 

Iris is the first hurricane to threaten Caribbean islands this season. 

In the capital Santo Domingo on the Dominican south coast, heavy rain caused 
a mudslide Saturday that destroyed a home under construction. Parts of the 
collapsed structure slid and crushed a small house, killing all three inside 
- a 27-year old mother and her daughters, ages 8 and 3. 

The home was in the hillside neighborhood of Los Girasoles in the capital's 
western outskirts, said Henry Peralta, spokesman for the Civil Defense Force. 
A separate mudslide in Los Girasoles also caused another house to collapse, 
slightly injuring two men. 

Thirty-five families were evacuated from several low-lying neighborhoods as 
rivers swelled over their banks, he said. The storm dumped at least 3 inches 
of rain along the Dominican south coast. 

At 8 p.m. EDT, Iris - packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph - was moving 
west some 60 miles south of the island Hispaniola, divided between Haiti and 
the Dominican Republic. The eye had already passed the Dominican Republic and 
was about 100 miles southwest of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. 

Hurricane-force winds extended 25 miles from the storm center and tropical 
storm force winds another 115 miles. The storm was moving west-northwest at 
17 mph. 

Haiti posted a hurricane warning for its south coast and advised coastal 
residents and valley dwellers to move to higher ground. 

Residents of Haiti's coastal town of Jacmel, an artist's colony 55 miles east 
of the Dominican border, braced themselves as forecasters warned that the 
worst winds and rain were centered in its northeast quadrant nearest the 

``Everybody's prepared. We're crossing our fingers,'' said Zidor Montal, a 
technician at Radio Express-Jacmel. 

Jamaica was under a hurricane warning. The hurricane is projected to 
strengthen to 85 mph, then make land at Kingston, the capital, by midday 
Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. 

The storm is expected to cut a path through the center of the island and exit 
through its northwest tip, a region packed with resort hotels, by Sunday 
evening, said Hurricane Center forecaster Krissy Williams. 

If that happens, it could devastate a tourist industry that was hurting even 
before the terrorist attacks on the United States caused thousands to cancel 

The Dominican Republic maintained a hurricane warning for southwest coastal 
areas near the Haitian border. Cuba's eastern provinces of Guantanamo and 
Granma were under hurricane warning, with a hurricane watch for the provinces 
of Las Tunas and Camaguey. Cayman Islands, with Iris projected to brush past 
Grand Cayman in 36 hours, issued a hurricane watch. 

Meanwhile, tropical depression No. 12 neared tropical storm strength in the 
Atlantic, prompting Barbados to issue a storm watch. By Saturday afternoon, 
the system had sustained winds near 35 mph and was 500 miles east of 

AP-NY-10-06-01 2115EDT

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