Hurricane Paloma pounded the Cayman Islands and headed toward Cuba as a Category 4 storm on Saturday.
Paloma is described as an "extremely dangerous" storm by the US National Hurricane Center. Its wind strength increased to 225km per hour early on Saturday.
The eye of the storm passed just to the east of Grand Cayman, the main island, but damage appeared to be light.
Cuba has declared an emergency in central and eastern parts of the island, canceled all national air and ground transportation and began evacuating residents.
The island has already been hit this year by hurricanes Gustav and Ike.