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Islanders, Yachters, Batten Down for Hurricane...

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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) — Yachters anchored vessels, driversjammed gas stations and people rushed to buy emergency suppliesFriday as Tropical Storm Erika strengthened into a hurricanepacking 75 mph winds.

The hurricane was expected to hit the northeastern Caribbean -Antigua, Montserrat, Barbuda, Nevis, St. Kitts, Anguilla, St.Barthelemy and Dutch and French St. Martin - by Saturday afternoon.Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands could seehurricane conditions by Sunday morning.

``I'm scared,'' Irene Riley said on Montserrat, where sheltersalready were overcrowded with people forced from their homes byeruptions from the island's volcano. ``I'm just prepared to get ridof some of my personal stuff and head out of Montserrat.''

Friday evening, Erika was about 180 miles east of Antigua,moving west-northwest at about 13 mph and packing winds near 75 mphthat could get stronger. Its motion was expected to continuethrough Saturday morning, placing its center near the northeasternLeeward Islands.

Antigua and Barbuda ordered schools to close at noon, andresidents boarded up their homes.

Authorities in Anguilla, citing damage caused by storms lastyear, said they would turn off the island's power supply if windsgusted to 50 mph. That would deprive the British colony oftelevision coverage of Princess Diana's funeral.

By MICHELLE FAUL,Associated Press WriterCopyright ©1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

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