Tomas Becomes Hurricane, Threatening Eastern Caribbean

Newly borne Hurricane Tomas is barreling through a cluster of eastern Caribbean islands, tearing off roofs, damaging houses and downing power lines in its path. In St. Lucia state radio says fierce winds have ripped off the roof of a hospital and a school.

The government has ordered all businesses and two airports closed.

Also under a Hurricane Warning are St. Vincent and Martinique, where at least 20,000 are without power, streets are flooded and many trees are down.

Tomas had already knocked down power lines and damaged a number of homes in Barbados.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Tomas is still a category one storm with winds of 75 MPH. It is the Atlantic seasons 12th hurricane and is expected to drop at least 6 inches of rain in the region.

Hurricane forecasts say Tomas could reach a category storm by Monday evening and a strong category 3 by mid-week with winds around 115 miles per hour as it moves west in the Caribbean.

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