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Hurricane Wilma Hits Florida, Causes Flooding, Power Outages


Hurricane Wilma has crashed ashore in the U.S. state of Florida with high winds and heavy rain that have already caused flooding and a loss of power in some areas.

Landfall came just before daybreak today today near the city of Naples on Florida's southern coast. Wilma was a Category Three storm when it hit land, with sustained winds of more than 200 kilometers an hour.

Authorities have urged people who refused to evacuate the low-lying Florida Keys island chain to take safety precautions. Reports from the islands say floodwaters there are rising.

A Miami newspaper says more than 300-thousand people in that area are without electricity.

Wilma is the eighth hurricane to strike Florida in the past 14 months. The storm is moving quickly and should cross Florida into the Atlantic later today.

The storm has also caused flooding in western Cuba, where authorities evacuated more than 600,000 people from low-lying areas before the storm.

Wilma is blamed for at least seven deaths on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, after killing 12 in Haiti last week.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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