Softened Hurricane Paula slowly moves toward Cuba

Lush tobacco-growing farmlands of western Cuba once again face fear of hurricane Paula, after having dealt with three intense hurricanes earlier in 2008, still not completely recovered. Paula, however is weakened after rain dominated crawl towards Cuba.

Paula is reduced to category 1, reported at 8:00 PM EDT by U.S. National Hurricane Center Miami, with sustained winds of 80mph. Earlier in the day it was reported to be Category 2 hurricane.

Jose Rubiera, Cuba’s chief Meteorologist expects Paula to slow down as he said “he rains at times could be strong or intense in some areas of Pinar del Rio, but the truth is they shouldn’t be that strong. They could be prolonged, however, and that could lead to heavy accumulation”

According to U.S forecasters, Paula will be weakened more due to the rain falls, while it is expected to pass through west of Cuba on Wednesday night or Thursday early morning.

Hours after hurricane swept past Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, it was mainly centered about 30 miles to the west of Cuba’s westernmost point and causing rains in the region.

As western Cuba gets ready for the hurricane, authorities also issue a storm warning to Havana, the Capital, and areas surrounding that.

Following the tropical warning people in Pinar del Rio started evacuating the city and moved to the nearby places as government is not willing to take any chances.

Although this time, Paula has slowed down a great deal but according to hurricane specialist, Robbie Berg, this has actually raised the threat of intense rain falls.

Earlier reported from Mexico, the only fatality was of an American, Mickey Goodwin from Texas, a 54-year-old man who eventually ignored the warnings and red flag intimation.

Authorities claimed that Paula didn’t cause any devastation in Mexico where it surpassed 27000 tourists, however heavy rain fall destroyed 19 houses on Paula’s passage in northeastern Honduras.