Hortense Sweeps Over Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: Most inhabitants of this Caribbean Island will wish they never met Hortense, the hurricane that swept through on Tuesday. Rising seas and flash flooding from torrential rains combined to inundate many low-lying coastal communities, including San Juan. The U.S. National Weather Service said Hortense was an extremely volatile storm. Though his 80 mph winds have not approached the punch packed by Fran last week, Hortense is strong enough to snap trees and power lines and toss about the hundreds of boats seeking shelter in the island's mangrove swamps. Local power utilities shut down generators to avoid damage to transformers and substations by surges during the storm, so much of the island was powerless this morning. In areas where lines are still functioning, power may return today. Officials are warning people to be wary of flooding, mudslides and washed-out roads, even after the storm has departed. Florida residents, fearing that their good fortune with hurricanes this year may not hold, are keeping a wary eye on the storm. It should near the east coast of the state by Thursday, but forecasters say with the right conditions, Hortense could be steered northward before landfall. burgeoning populations, the need for arable land for crops, and economic development all major timber importers Scot Woods