Cuba welcomes Tropical Storm Arlene

Campaign News | Friday, 10 June 2005

Rains bring much needed water

Havana, June 10: Suffering from its worst drought in 100 years, Cuba welcomed like a blessing the rains accompanying Arlene, the first tropical storm of the recently begun hurricane season.

According to reports from the Meteorological Institute Forecast Center (INSMET), the most significant rainfall occurred in the western provinces of La Habana, City of Havana, and Pinar del Río.

It was precisely over the latter, specifically over the town of Arroyos de Mantua, that a weak Arlene passed over, with winds reaching up to 75 km per hour, before entering the Gulf of Mexico.

Considerable rain also fell over central Cuba (Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara), while lesser precipitation - although still welcome - fell in easternmost Cuba, the most affected by drought.

In spite of possible flooding in low-lying areas and the inconveniences brought about by such situations, Cubans trust that the current hurricane season, which seems like it is going to be an active one, will continue to bring along events as welcome as this Arlene, with its blessing of rain. (PL)

Tropical storm Arlene forms in Caribbean

Thursday, June 09 - Tropical storm Arlene developed Thursday in the northwest Caribbean Sea, edging closer to western Cuba as the Atlantic hurricane season's first named storm. Residents of the U.S. Gulf Coast, including those in Florida, were warned to beware.

Arlene had maximum sustained winds of almost 65 kilometres an hour after strengthening from a tropical depression that formed Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Tropical storms have top sustained winds of 63 to 119 km/h.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the storm's centre was about 300 kilometres south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba. It was moving north at about 13 km/h, and this motion could bring the storm's centre near western Cuba as early as Thursday night, forecasters said.

Arlene was expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico by Friday, and residents from Florida to Louisiana were told to keep an eye on the tropical storm.

"Our best estimate of the track possibilities are that anywhere from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle could expect the centre to be approaching them by the middle of the weekend," hurricane specialist Richard Knabb said.

The Cuban government issued a tropical storm watch for the western province of Pinar Del Rio to the capital of Havana.

The depression was causing heavy rains and squalls across the Cayman Islands and western and central Cuba. Forecasters warned that very heavy rains in Nicaragua and Honduras could cause flash floods and mud slides.

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