Hurricane weakens as it heads towards Cuba

Hurricane Paula headed closer to Cuba Wednesday night, although it is weakening and slowing down.

A forecaster reported to CNN International that Paula is expected to cross the western tip of Cuba either late Wednesday or Thursday. The AFP said the hurricane had previously drenched Mexico's Yucatan Penisula.

CNN International reported that Paula had been downgraded to a Category I storm, and was about 40 miles from west of the western tip of Cuba. The AFP added that the hurricane could be en route to the Florida Keys.

Paula's winds have dropped to 85 mph and that "gradual weakening" of the storm is expected over the next day or tow, CNN International said. The AFP reported it was currently at a Category II storm.

Cuba issued a tropical storm warning for the city of Havana and Pinar del Rio while Mexico canceled its warnings on the Yucatan, said CNN International. The AFP added that a tropical strom watch has also been issued for parts of the Florida Keys.

CNN International said that Paula was expected to bring three to six inches of rain to Cuba and could cause flash floods and mudslides.

The AFP added that Cuba was "slammed" in 2008 with three major hurricanes which caused $10 billion in damages. Currently, Hurricane Paula is the ninth hurricane of the June-through-November Atlantic season.

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