'Great hurricane' sweeps toward Jamaica and Cuba

"Great hurricane" Allen, packing 170 m.p.h. winds, churned through the Caribbean Sea Tuesday toward Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, killing at least 8 people on the tiny island of St. Lucia.

"At this strength, Allen is a very dangerous and threatening storm, and it will ultimately bring devastation to any landmass it hits," hurricane forecaster Paul Hebert said. Only two others have been more intense -- Camille and the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 in the Florida Keys.

Hurricane "strike" planes recorded atmospheric pressure in the seven- mile-wide "eye" of the storm at 27.05 inches (916 milibars), just a fraction more than the pressure in the 200- m.p.h. hurricane Camille in 1959. Forecasters use the central pressure of a storm to help determine its winds. The lower the pressure, the higher the storm's winds.

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