Storm blows by; Caribbean clean up continues

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman --- Cleanup efforts are under way in the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricane Michelle's swath through parts of Central America, Cuba, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.

Despite threats to Florida and mandatory evacuations in the Florida Keys, the storm produced rain and wind gusts but little else.

Hurricane Michelle whipped through the western end of Cuba, uprooting trees, blowing debris and causing power blackouts in and around Havana. However, Varadero, an important beach resort area east of Havana, had little damage.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro inspected the beaches after the storm passed and reassured visitors that the area was open for business.

In the Cayman Islands, most of the damage was limited to the west coast of Grand Cayman, which sustained storm surges and wave pounding. Roads were flooded and parts of Seven Mile Beach were eroded.

The holding tanks at the Turtle Farm, a major attraction near of George Town, the capital, were flooded. Residents helped move hundreds of turtles to land-side tanks.

Atlantis Submarine Excursions were set to resume business Nov. 7, once the seas calmed down. Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, northeast of Grand Cayman, had little damage.

Winds from Hurricane Michelle had lessened in intensity by the time the storm crossed over Nassau, Bahamas, dumping several inches of rain. Residents were urged to take cover during the storm, but initial reports afterwards indicated no major damage.

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