Hurricane Tomas batters Caribbean

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Newly born Hurricane Tomas swept through a cluster of eastern Caribbean islands Saturday, tearing off roofs, damaging houses and downing power lines.

Authorities in St. Vincent were trying to confirm reports that three people died, including two men who might have been blown off a roof.

Fierce winds tore roofs from nearly 100 homes and more than 400 people sought emergency shelter as the island plunged into darkness.

In St. Lucia, winds ripped off the roof of a hospital, a school, a stadium and toppled a large concrete cross from the roof of a century-old church, government officials said.

Heavy rains also unleashed a landslide that blocked a main highway linking the capital to the island’s southern region.

As the storm passed into the Caribbean, hurricane warnings were ended for the eastern islands, but tropical storm alerts remained in effect for Dominica, Martinque, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Tobago and Grenada.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tomas had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph winds late Saturday and was centered about 75 miles west of St. Lucia.


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