Paloma Hits Cuba
Despite destroying hundreds if homes, Paloma has been downgraded to a tropical depression by the National Hurricane Center, CNN reported.
At around 4 p.m. Sunday, Paloma's center was 15 miles south-southwest of Camaguey, Cuba. The winds have weakened from 145 mph to around 35 mph.
While damage reports have been limited, the Cuban state media has reported that the storm destroyed a major communications tower, has disrupted phone and electricity services, and caused major flooding.
No storm-related deaths have been reported.
Over 220,000 people had been evacuated from the low lands of the Camaguey providence and were moved to higher ground in anticipation of the storm. Another 170,000 people were moved in the eastern province of Las Tunas.
"This is a really hard blow," Aida Perez, a resident of Santa Cruz del Sur, said. "What's important is that we are alive."
The AP reported that waves more than 10-foot-high washed away nearly 50 modest houses in Santa Cruz del Sur, submerging houses, and flooding local crops. In total, 435 homes in the community were destroyed Civil Defense authorities said.
Paloma was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Santa Cruz del Sur, but rapidly lost strength.