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Hurricane Paloma eyes Cuba as it becomes a Category 4 storm

The hurricane-battered island of Cuba will likely suffer more damage this weekend at the hands of Hurricane Paloma, which strengthened this morning into an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm.

As of 7 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday, after dumping rain on the Cayman Islands, Paloma was traveling northeast at about 8 mph (13 km/hr), packing winds of 140 mph (225 km/hr), according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is on track to make landfall in Cuba at about 1 a.m. Sunday, probably just slightly weaker than its current strength, and could produce up to 20 feet of storm surge along the coast there.

The Caymans and Cuba are expected to get up to ten inches (25 cm) of rain by the time the storm passes. Jamaica will likely get about 1-3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm) of rain.

Five hurricanes -- including Ike and Gustav -- have already hit Cuba this year, causing deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

For more on hurricanes, see our in-depth report.

Projected Paloma path courtesy NOAA/NHC

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