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Hurricane Ivan Brings 160-mph Winds to Cuba, Gulf

Hurricane Ivan reaches Cuba packing winds of up to 160 mph, skirting the island nation's western tip as it heads north toward the Florida Panhandle. The powerful storm has hurricane-force winds over 115 miles from its center.

Forecasters say Ivan could veer westward as it approaches the United States, and may lose some of its strength in the Gulf of Mexico. If it were to maintain its rating as a Category 5 hurricane, it would be one of only a handful to strike the U.S. mainland. Experts are calling the storm "one for the record books."

Hurricane Ivan is already responsible for some 60 deaths in the Caribbean. Hear NPR's Melissa Block and Hugh Willoughby, former director of NOAA's hurricane research division.

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As special correspondent and guest host of NPR's news programs, Melissa Block brings her signature combination of warmth and incisive reporting. Her work over the decades has earned her journalism's highest honors, and has made her one of NPR's most familiar and beloved voices.