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Tropical storm could grow larger

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

George Town, Cayman Islands A tropical storm warning was in effect Sunday for the Cayman Islands as a tropical depression moved through the Atlantic on a path that could threaten the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week as a hurricane, forecasters said.

The system was expected to become Tropical Storm Wilma by today, which would make it the 21st named storm of the season, tying the record for the most storms in an Atlantic season, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Long-term forecasts show the storm would likely move west and north, putting it in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday or Friday. Forecasters said water temperature and other conditions were favorable for it to become a significant hurricane.

Rain subsides in NE but winds still strong

Lawrence, Mass. Emergency and utility crews across the Northeast worked Sunday to repair the damage caused by several days of rain and floods, but strong winds continued to cause problems.

In a signal to storm-weary residents that the worst was over, Gov. Mitt Romney lifted a state of emergency declaration. New Jersey’s emergency declaration was lifted Saturday night.

Only scattered showers were reported in the region Sunday, but wind gusts topping 40 mph brought down trees and knocked out power.

Flood advisories remained in effect for many areas, as officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire continued to monitor swollen rivers and streams.

Wisconsin high school bus crashes; 5 dead

Osseo, Wis. A bus carrying high school students home from a band competition crashed into a tractor-trailer that had jackknifed on the interstate early Sunday, killing five people, including the band director and his 11-year-old granddaughter, officials said.

Twenty-nine others were injured, some seriously, troopers said.

The semi had gone off the shoulder of Interstate 94 and jackknifed, blocking the westbound lane, Wisconsin State Patrol Capt. Douglas Notbohm said.

The semi driver was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

Tsunami assistance too slow, official says

Banda Aceh, Indonesia Reconstruction in tsunami-ravaged Aceh province is moving too slowly and aid groups must work together more closely to get survivors out of tents and into permanent housing, a top U.N. official said Sunday.

Jan Egeland, the U.N. undersecretary-general and emergency relief coordinator, said while much was done in the immediate aftermath of the Dec. 26 tsunami to provide temporary relief to survivors, more needs to be done – and quickly.

“We did well in the emergency phase,” Egeland said. “But the reconstruction went slower than we had hoped.”

Tens of thousands of people still live in refugee camps. The rainy season, which started this month, has made their situation all the more dire.

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