MIAMI -- Hurricane Ivan made a direct hit on Grenada Tuesday as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 140 mph that killed three people, collapsed hundreds of concrete homes, tore off roofs and devastated landmarks in the capital of St. Georges and throughout the island of 100,000 residents.

Ivan is the most powerful storm to hit Grenada since Hurricane Luis in 1990. Ivan also damaged homes in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and left thousands in the Grenadines without electricity or phone service. Many residents had fled to shelters.

A relief team from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency, based in Barbados, was expected to arrive in Grenada Thursday.

Damage to Grenadas hotels and resorts was extensive, according to some unconfirmed reports, although specific details were still to come. Although hotel damage on most of Grenada was still being assessed, LaSource reported that the hotel sustained some damage to the roof but all guests and staff were safe.

After exiting Grenada, Ivan barreled into the Caribbean Sea on a track that would take it northwest of the Netherlands Antilles, and headed for the south coast of Haiti and Jamaica by weeks end.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization, based in Barbados, said that the island was spared a direct hit, although storm force winds damaged more than 150 homes. Most businesses on Barbados reopened Sept. 8, although schools remained closed.

Half the roof of the structure housing the retired British Airways Concorde jet donated to Barbados last fall was torn away by winds, although the aircraft itself was not damaged.

After more than 80 hurricane-free years, Canouan Island in the Grenadines found itself in the path of Ivan on Sept. 7. The new Raffles Resort Canouan Island, which held its soft opening in July, evacuated guests and closed the resort until the storm passed and staff could assess any damages.

Meanwhile, in the Bahamas, officials continued to assess the damage on Grand Bahama Island, where Hurricane Frances pounded the island for hours Sept. 4.

Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, director general of tourism, issued a statement on the Bahamas Web site, at www.bahamas.com, stating that the country had fared much better than had been predicted, although damage reports for Grand Bahama and Abaco were still pending.

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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