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Nation IN BRIEF / FLORIDA

Hurricane Irene Heads for Land

October 15, 1999|From Times Wire Reports

After thrashing its way across Cuba, Hurricane Irene began its drive toward the Florida Keys and South Florida. The storm threatened coastal and inland flooding over at least the lower third of the Florida peninsula--most of which was under a hurricane warning. Concern over Irene's 75 mph winds and torrential rain drove tourists from Key West and snarled traffic in South Florida. Forecasters said areas as far north as Tampa Bay could be flooded. At 11 p.m. EDT, Irene was centered 95 miles southwest of Key West. The storm slowed to about 3 mph late Thursday but was expected to pick up to about 8 mph early today. The storm forced at least 130,000 people to evacuate in Cuba.

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