Michelle Roughs Up the Caribbean

MIAMI, Florida, November 5, 2001 (ENS) - The wild winds of the Hurricane Michelle have blasted across the Caribbean leaving six dead and 14 missing in Honduras. At least five people are dead and 800,000 people were evacuated from locations at risk in Cuba as Michelle blew across the island causing widespread damage on Sunday night.

After developing into an intense Category IV hurricane over the eastern Caribbean over the weekend, Hurricane Michelle moved into the Florida Straits last night. First visitors, then residents were evacuated from the Florida Keys on Saturday and Sunday.

Michelle made its closest point of approach to Florida overnight last night, when the core of the storm was about 125 miles south of the Upper Keys. Local assessments of flooding and damage were conducted this morning.

"It looks like that the Bahamas were spared!" said Caribbean Hurricane Network (CHN) just before noon." The islands of Andros and Eleuthra felt the high winds, and the storm passed 24 miles southeast of Nassau, New Providence.

At 7 am, Michelle was located 175 miles southeast of Miami moving toward the northeast at 17 mph with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph. Moving toward the northeast and weakening toward nightfall, Michelle is now "disorganized now, with a dislocated center, so Bermuda shouldn't worry windwise too much either," CHN reports.

According to the United Nations Resident Coordinator's office in Cuba, early this morning the wind had calmed down in Havana and light rain was falling. map

Satellite image of Michelle. Map courtesy NASA

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the northwestern and central Bahamas. This includes Grand Bahama, the Abacos, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Andros, New Providence, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Exumas, San Salvador, Rum Cay and Long Island.

A hurricane watch remains in effect for Bermuda. A gale warning remains in effect on the Florida east coast from Cocoa Beach southward to Jupiter Inlet.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 145 miles from the center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the east coast of Florida from Jupiter Inlet southwards to Ocean Reef and for the Florida Upper Keys from Craig Key eastward. A gale warning is in effect for portions of east central Florida coast from Cocoa Beach southward to Jupiter Inlet.

A storm surge of one to three feet above normal along with battering waves was felt on the Atlantic coast of Florida today. Michelle has now passed and southern Florida has sun and partial clouds in the forecast.