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Hurricane Wilma Hits Florida


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 Monday 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 residents of the low-lying Florida Keys island chain who refused to evacuate to "hunker down" in the face of the storm. Reports from the islands say floodwaters there are rising.

And a Miami newspaper says more than 300,000 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 over Florida and 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 ahead of the storm.

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

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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