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Canary Islands storm hits power, communications
29 Nov 2005 12:35:51 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Adds details of impact on Morocco, paras 9-12)

MADRID, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity and phone services were disrupted on Tuesday after a powerful storm ripped through Spain's Canary Islands, killing seven in the popular holiday destination.

The death toll rose after strong winds blew a man off his roof, which he was apparently trying to repair on the island of Fuerteventura as the storm approached, emergency officials said.

Storm Delta also claimed the lives of six African migrants who drowned off the Canary Islands on Monday as powerful waves swept their makeshift boat.

Each year, thousands of migrants try to reach the Canary Islands from Africa and many die in the attempt.

The islands of Tenerife and La Palma were worst hit by the storm which had passed over by mid-morning. Uprooted trees and landslides forced the closure of a number of roads in the picturesque islands.

About 223,000 customers had no electricity, and the lack of power was also affecting some telephone services.

Several ports and airports were temporarily closed.

The former Tropical Storm Delta became a winter storm as it neared Africa on Monday but the 25th named cyclone of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record still brought heavy rain and winds higher than 120 kms (75 miles) per hour.

The storm moved on to Morocco, but it caused no damage in areas unaccustomed to torrential rains.

"Delta reached Morocco as a normal atmospheric disturbance for the autumn season, with normal clouds and rains," Weather Forecast Center spokesman Mohamed Belaouchi told Reuters.

"There was no damage from this storm in Morocco. It shifted into a normal depression as it usual for this autumn season and now it was dying down completley," he said.

But the storm brought much needed rains to southern and northern Morocco where farmers were eagerly awaiting rain to complete sowing of cereals. (Additional reporting by Lamine Ghanmi in Rabat)

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