ST. GEORGE'S, Grenada - Hurricane Felix gathered strength yesterday and pounded Grenada with heavy rain and wind, snapping small boats loose from their moorings and toppling utility poles on its route toward the Caribbean island of Aruba.
The storm was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane yesterday evening, with sustained maximum winds near 75 miles per hour. It was expected to strengthen further overnight as its outer bands started hitting the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
Tropical Storm Henriette was moving out to sea after dumping rain on Mexico's Pacific coastline and killing six people.
In Acapulco, Henriette loosened a boulder that smashed into a home, killing three people. A teenager and her two brothers died when a landslide hit their house in a poor neighborhood of the resort.
Felix swept over Grenada yesterday, knocking local radio and TV stations out of service and toppling utility lines. No injuries were immediately reported, but the storm ripped roofs off at least two homes and a popular concert venue was demolished. Orchards were left in ruin.
Felix became the sixth named storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season early yesterday, spawning thunderstorms and downing trees in Barbados, St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, and the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The Caribbean islands reported minor damage.
Last night, Felix was centered about 155 miles east of Bonaire and 270 miles east of Aruba and was moving westward at about 18 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.
Forecasters said satellite loops show the storm is steadily expanding.
In Aruba, residents stocked up on groceries, flashlights, and window reinforcements. Tourists crowded the airport to catch flights out before the storm arrived.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, and a tropical storm watch was issued in Jamaica, further to the west. The storm was predicted to skirt Jamaica and the coast of Honduras, and possibly make landfall in Belize on Wednesday before crossing over Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.
Even though Tropical Storm Henriette was moving out to sea, a warning remained in effect along Mexico's coast from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.