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Tropical Storm Paloma could hit battered Cuba

Ay, Paloma!

An exotically named tropical storm is eyeing weather-weary Cuba and could strengthen to a hurricane by tomorrow, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 10 a.m. Eastern time, Paloma was 75 miles (115 kilometers) Northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras border and about 265 miles (430 kilometers) south-southwest of Grand Cayman, the agency reported. Winds were gusting as fast as 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour.

Paloma is expected to bring up to a foot of rain to the Cayman Islands, and two to four inches in Nicaragua. It could pass over Cuba and Jamaica by Sunday, and strengthen into a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 96 miles (154 kilometers) per hour, Reuters reports.

Cuba suffered more than $5 billion worth of damage after it was battered by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in August and September. Paloma is the 16th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Nov. 30. That number is right on target with forecasters' predictions for 16 named tempests this year.

To learn more about hurricanes, see our in-depth report.

(Tropical storm Paloma/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

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