KEY WEST, Fla., July 9 (UPI) -- Hurricane Dennis lost some of its punch Saturday after hammering Cuba but was intensifying as it headed over the Gulf of Mexico near the Florida Keys.
Dennis lashed Cuba with top wind gusts of 149 mph, killing 10 people, including two children, and was dumping heavy rain in the Keys, but was not expected to make landfall until Sunday evening in the United States.
The storm pummeled the Caribbean island with torrential rains and 110 mph winds overnight.
At 5 a.m. EDT, Dennis was over the southeast Gulf of Mexico about 80 miles south-southwest of Key West. Winds dropped to 90 mph as the storm was slowed by Cuba's mountains but quickly intensified to 105 mph as the storm passed over the warm Gulf waters.
Forecasters said Dennis was taking a path similar to Hurricane Ivan, which killed 29 people when it slammed into the Florida Panhandle in September.
The governors of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi declared states of emergency as Dennis born down on the Gulf Coast.