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Hispaniola's peaks weaken Emily; rain continues to pour

The rugged peaks of Hispaniola, graveyard of many a tropical tempest, tore apart Tropical Storm Emily on Thursday, effectively ending any serious threat to South Florida.

But for Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Emily's dissipation may have come too late. Although the storm had lost its 50 mph punch, its remnants were expected to continue dumping rain — possibly well into today.

No deaths or injuries were reported, but damage was widespread. In Puerto Rico, landslides blocked a major highway. In the Dominican Republic, rising floodwaters forced more than 5,000 people to flee their homes. In Haiti, initial reports indicated hundreds of homes had been damaged.

Meanwhile, hurricane forecasters increased their prediction for the season Thursday. The forecast now calls for 14 to 19 named storms, seven to 10 hurricanes and three to five major hurricanes with winds of at least 111 mph, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said.

Texas drought may go into 2012

The drought that has turned Texas and parts of the Plains into a parched moonscape could persist into next year, prolonging the misery of farmers and ranchers who have endured a dry spell that is now expected to be the state's worst since the 1950s. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that the La Niña weather phenomenon blamed for the crippling lack of rain might be back soon, just two months after the last La Niña ended. If that happens, the drought would almost certainly extend into 2012.

Hispaniola's peaks weaken Emily; rain continues to pour 08/04/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 4, 2011 11:11pm]
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