ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (AP) – Hurricane Emily grew even more powerful Thursday after slamming into Grenada, tearing up crops, flooding streets and striking at homes still under repair from last year’s storms. At least one man was killed.

The storm strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 as it cleared the Windward Islands, unleashing heavy surf, gusty winds and torrential rains on islands hundreds of miles away: Trinidad in the south, nearby Venezuela, to the west and Dominican Republic in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

Venezuelan authorities temporarily ordered some oil tankers to stay in port in the key oil refining zone of Puerto la Cruz, port captain Jose Jimenez Quintero said.

The storm was packing sustained winds near 125 mph and moving west-northwest at around 20 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season would get even stronger.

Emily struck hard in Grenada, especially in the northern parishes of St. Patrick’s and St. Andrew’s and the outlying islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, authorities said.

The damage comes as the island nation is still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed thousands of residences and damaged 90 percent of the historic Georgian buildings in the capital.

“Just as we were trying to rebuild … this is a very, very major setback,” said Barry Colleymore, a spokesman for Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. “There’s been lots of destruction.”

The Organization of American States expressed concern at the prospect of a “severe economic setback” to countries hit by hurricanes, especially Grenada, and called an emergency meeting for Friday.

A man in his 40s was killed when a landslide crushed his home in St. Andrew’s, said Allen McGuire, Grenada’s consul general in New York City.

In the capital, St. George’s, winds blew out windows and caused flooding, Colleymore said. On Carriacou, the storm damaged the roof of the only hospital, forcing the evacuation of patients, officials said. Sixteen houses were destroyed and more than 200 were damaged, McGuire said.

Elsewhere in the country, two police stations and two homes for the elderly also lost their roofs, landslides and fallen trees blocked roads, streets were flooded and crops were destroyed.

The two outlying islands had largely been spared from Ivan, but elsewhere in Grenada many of the homes damaged Thursday had still been under reconstruction, McGuire said.

Prime Minister Keith Mitchell flew over the country to survey the destruction, Colleymore said.

In Trinidad, widespread flooding triggered landslides that cut off the only access road to two east coast communities, marooning hundreds of residents, Mayor Eustace Nancis said. At least one house was washed away, and hundreds of people were without water or electricity.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning toured Trinidad and the smaller island of Tobago by helicopter Thursday to assess damage.

Jamaica and the Cayman Islands were under a hurricane watches, while the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela posted tropical storm warnings as did the Dutch islands of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.

In Grenada, Mitchell had sought before the storm to reassure citizens that the government would not be caught off-guard – as it was when Ivan killed 39 people and left a wasteland of ruined buildings in September.

“We took this very, very seriously,” said Colin Dowe, an assistant dean at the island’s St. George’s University, where dozens of students and faculty members waited out the storm. “Ivan was much stronger so the general feeling is that we can get through this.”

Late Friday, Emily was centered about 375 miles southeast of the Dominican Republic capital, Santo Domingo, moving west-northwest near 25 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 25 miles and tropical storm-force winds another 125 miles.

Emily trails Hurricane Dennis, which destroyed crops and killed at least 25 people in Haiti and 16 in Cuba last week, according to authorities in the two countries.



Associated Press Writer Jorge Rueda in Cumana, Venezuela, and Loren Brown in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, contributed to this report.



On the Net:

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

AP-ES-07-15-05 0031EDTIn Tobago, two homes were reported damaged or destroyed and another 16 sustained roof damage, according to the Caribbean Disaster Relief Agency. Some roads there are blocked off.

Barbados had yet to report its damage Thursday afternoon, but appeared to have suffered little, an agency spokesman said.


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