Tropical storm Lili moving toward Cuba

Sept. 28, 2002 at 11:47 AM
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MIAMI, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Tropical storm Lili became better organized Saturday, developing 50 mph winds, and was expected to approach the south coast of eastern Cuba later in the day, the National Hurricane Center said.

Heavy rains were already spreading across Jamaica and the southwestern peninsula of Haiti.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Lili was centered near latitude 18.1 north, longitude 75.5 west, or about 85 miles east-northeast of Kingston, Jamaica.

It was also about 130 miles south of Guantanamo Bay, where several detainees from the fighting in Afghanistan are being held at the Naval base.

"Lili is meandering as it tries to become better organized, but a slow northwest or north-northwestward motion is expected," said forecaster Richard Pasch. "On this track, the center of Lili will be near the south coast of eastern Cuba tonight."

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the provinces of Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo and Holguin. A tropical storm watch has been called for the provinces of Las Tunas and Camaguey, along with Cayman Brac and Little Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

"Heavy rains continue to spread across Jamaica and the southwestern peninsula of Haiti and should begin to spread over portions of eastern Cuba later today. These rains could cause life-threatening flash flooding and mud slides," Pasch said.

While Lili appeared to being strengthening, the opposite was true for Kyle, which weakened to a tropical storm carrying winds of 70 mph. At 11 a.m., the center of tropical storm Kyle was located near latitude 26.3 north, longitude 63.3 west or about 435 miles south-southeast of Bermuda.

More weakening was expected as Kyle traveled west at 7 mph.

Meanwhile, Louisiana was still digging out from the visit by tropical storm Isidore.

Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has announced that President Bush has declared a major disaster for Louisiana, triggering the release of federal funds to help meet the recovery needs of families and businesses.

"The president recognizes that people need help now and has acted quickly to ensure that they receive the assistance required to get them on the road to recovery as fast and efficiently as possible," he said.

After the declaration, Allbaugh designated the following 12 parishes eligible for aid to stricken residents and business owners: Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.

The assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

In addition, Allbaugh said federal funds will be provided for the state and local governments to pay 75 percent of the eligible cost for debris removal and emergency services in the parishes of East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, St. Tammany and Terrebonne.

The parishes designated for aid to affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster assistance process on Saturday, by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

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