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Hurricane Cristobal Kills 5 in the Caribbean, Moves North

August 26, 2014

Hurricane Cristobal pulled away from the Bahamas archipelago on Tuesday after dumping heavy rain across the Atlantic and Caribbean islands over the weekend and leaving at least five people dead. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the hurricane would likely avoid a collision with the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, but it was generating life-threatening surf and rip current conditions from central Florida to North Carolina.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, and it was expected pass northwest of Bermuda on Wednesday, and strengthen slightly by Thursday. On Tuesday night, it was centered 435 miles west-southwest of Bermuda and was moving north at 16 mph. Hurricane force winds extended outward up to 60 miles from the center.

(MORE: More Information on Where Cristobal Is Headed)

Hotel owners and tourist operators in Bermuda were dismayed at the forecast, noting that August already has been one of the rainiest months in recent history for the British island territory.

"It's been a ridiculous, endless amount of rain," said Marlie Powell, owner of the Kingston House Bed & Breakfast. "It's the height of our tourist season, so it's not a happy thing."

Over the weekend, the storm hurled heavy rain at the Caribbean, causing flooding and sparking a few landslides. On the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, two Dominican men and two Haitians died when they were caught up in waterways swollen by Cristobal's driving rains.

In Haiti, Marie Alta Jean Baptiste, Haiti's director of civil protection, confirmed the deaths of the two Haitians late Monday. They had gone missing late Saturday in Saint Marc, a port town on the country's west coast.

Turks and Caicos officials said flights resumed Tuesday at the islands' international airport, which closed as the hurricane dumped some 12 inches on the islands. The governor's office reported one death after recovering a body from floodwaters on the main island of Providenciales.

"The situation on North Caicos is extremely serious," said Premier Rufus Ewing, who visited the island on Tuesday. "The flood water in some areas is perhaps 1,000 feet across and up to 5 feet deep in places."

The government said in a statement that it was debating whether to pump out floodwaters or use bulldozers to create new routes to reach some communities. Government offices on North Caicos remained closed.

(MORE: Monster Storm Churns in the Pacific)

About 3,600 people were evacuated from communities in the Dominican Republic, according to Jose Manuel Mendez, director of the country's emergency operations center. More than half returned to their homes by Monday.

Roughly 640 Haitian families were left temporarily homeless during the passage of the storm, said Luckecy Mathieu, a civil protection coordinator. At least 28 homes were badly damaged and four others were destroyed, he said.

Before strengthening into a tropical storm, the system lashed Puerto Rico, downing trees and power lines and leaving more than 23,500 people without power and 8,720 without water. There were a handful of reported landslides.

Police said in a statement that a small bridge collapsed Saturday in the central town of Barranquitas, isolating some 25 families in the area. No one was injured.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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