Hurricane Paloma petered out Monday into a tropical depression northeast of Cuba, but not before raking Cayman Brac, Little Cayman and Cuba.

Paloma flooded Cuba’s southern coast as a Category 3 hurricane on Saturday, knocking out power and phone lines, toppling trees, causing thousands of evacuations and sending a storm surge that pushed seawater nearly a mile inland. 

However, Cuban officials said that damage was far less than the $8 billion caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike in late August and early September, respectively.

Paloma hammered the Sister Islands of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman but spared Grand Cayman. Within hours after Paloma passed Grand Cayman on Saturday, Owen Roberts Airport reopened and hotels were expected to receive guests for check-in that day.

Government officials were in the Sister Islands on Monday, assessing damage and offering assistance.

Paloma was the eighth hurricane of the busy 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends Nov. 30.

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