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Nov 5, 2009 8:43 AM by Associated Press

Ida reaches hurricane force near Nicaragua

Ida has reached hurricane force as it nears Nicaragua's mainland.

The National Weather Service said Thursday morning that a hurricane warning was issued for the east coast of Nicaragua from Bluefields to Puerto Cabezas.

Hurricane force winds are expected during the next several hours. The storm had already uprooted trees, knocked down power lines and forced the evacuation of 300 people on Nicaragua's Corn Island after forming Wednesday in the southwestern Caribbean.

Heavy rains and winds already pounded the popular resort of Corn Island, knocking down trees, electrical lines and telephone poles. Much of the island had lost and phone service, said Lt. Col. Reinaldo Carrion, the civil defense chief in Bluefields, the city nearest to the island.

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