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macon.com Midday Update: Hurricane Ike raking Cuba with wind and rain; gas prices dip statewide; gecko rare to Ga. spotted along coast

Hurricane Ike is churning across Cuba with near-100-mile-per-hour winds.

In Camaguey, near where the storm's eye hit this morning, diagonal sheets of stinging rain flooded the narrow streets, which were clogged with tree branches, metal grates and plastic sheeting. Chunks of debris flew through the air.

Ike slammed into eastern Cuba last night, tearing off roofs, toppling trees and sending huge waves crashing into buildings, as some 900,000 Cubans fled to shelters or higher ground. Dozens of buildings are said to have been destroyed.

Forecasters say Ike will likely hit Havana early tomorrow. This morning, skies in the capital were only cloudy, but schools are closed and domestic flights suspended.

The hurricane is expected to tear across almost the entire length of Cuba, then enter the Gulf of Mexico with Texas and Louisiana among the possible targets.Associated Press

Gas prices dip statewide

Self-serve regular gasoline is costing you less.

According to AAA Georgia, regular unleaded averaged $3.60 per gallon. That's a one-cent drop from Sunday.

The national average for regular is $3.65 a gallon.

The average prices for midgrade and premium fuels are $3.77 and $3.94 a gallon, respectively.

Atlanta and Augusta were tied for the state's lowest metro average for regular at $3.56 a gallon. It was highest in Athens at $3.65 a gallon.

Associated Press

Gecko rare to Ga. spotted along coast

Georgia wildlife officials say an exotic gecko rare to the state has been spotted along the coast near Savannah.

A Whitemarsh Island resident found a couple of Indo-Pacific geckos, also known as Garnot's house geckos, in the yard of his home. The nocturnal creature is native to Asia, Australia and Polynesia.

Wildlife officials say Indo-Pacific geckos spread easily because they are all females and lay self-fertilized eggs.

John Jensen with the state Department of Natural Resources says the gecko probably migrated from Florida, where the chirping brown lizards are common. Officials do not believe the geckos pose a threat to Georgia's native species.

Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

- Warner Robins Mayor Pro-tem Clifford Holmes is expected to meet with department heads today as part of the transition with longtime Mayor Donald Walker on extended medical leave. Come back to our Web site for details.

- The Children's Coalition Against Child Abuse is launching a new pilot program in Bibb County to prevent child sex abuse. We'll tell you about it.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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