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11 September 2006 :: 15:09:20 pm 32427

Hurricane Florence hit Bermuda

Hurricane Florence is the sixth tropical storm and second hurricane of the2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season. It is a Cape Verde-type system that developed well east of the Lesser Antilles. It is currently active.
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               Sending wave surges crashing against the tiny Atlantic island‘s coast less than a day ahead of its expected landfall, weather forecasters said.

               At 21.00 hours on Sunday, US National Hurricane Center reported that the center of the storm was about 185 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and headed toward the north at nearly 13 miles (20 kilometers) per hour.

               The eye of the storm is expected to cross ‘very near‘ Bermuda early today.
               On September 8, the government of Bermuda issued a hurricane watch for the island which was followed by a tropical storm warning on September 9. These were replaced by a hurricane warning on September 10 coinciding with the storm’s strengthening to hurricane intensity. The government urged the potentially impacted citizens to take preparations for the storm, many of whom bought supplies at local hardware stores. Residents installed storm shutters, while boat owners moved their yachts to safer location.

               Minister of Labour Home Affairs and Public Safety Derrick Burgess announced the following preparations on September 9. The Bermuda Regiment embodied 200 troops, with 250 additional soldiers and the Bermuda Reserve Police on immediate standby following the storm. The shelter at Cedar Bridge Academy in Devonshire was ready for those in emergency housing on the morning of September 10 and everyone by noon. All government-affiliated schools and offices would be closed today and Bermuda International Airport would be closed by midnight, likely reopening would be tomorrow following a damage assessment. Meanwhile, the Bermuda Electric Company (BELCO) and the Beermuda Telephone Company prepared for full deployment, and Acting Police Commissioner characterized the hundred of government and emergency services staff on standby as “astronomical”.

               Hotel issued emergency plans to all guests, including contingencies to evacuate those in low-lying areas. Private jets and some commercial airlines were made available to tourist wishing to leave Bermuda after the airport’s closure. Ferry service ceased at 4.30 p.m. on Saturday and bus service ceased at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The causeway was closed Sunday evening.

               Leader of Government Business of the Cayman Islands, called acting Premier to offer any assistance Bermuda required. Several hotels planned “hurricane parties” to entertain their guests.

               Tropical Storm Florence produced strong swells and dangerous surf conditions of the northern Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Bermuda.

               As of 2 a.m. AST (0600 UTC) September 11, Hurricane Florence is located within 35 nautical miles of 31.2°N 66.1°W, about 110 miles (175 km) southwest of Bermuda. Maximum sustained winds are 80 knots (90 mph, 150 km/h), with stronger gusts. Minimum central pressure is 975 mbar (28.79 inches), and the system is moving N near 14 mph (22 km/h). Florence is a large tropical cyclone; tropical storm-force winds currently extend outward up to 260 miles (415 km) from the center while hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center.

               Rainfall totals of 5 to 8 inches (125 to 200 mm) are expected over Bermuda, with possible isolated rainfall of up to 10 inches (250 mm). Storm surges of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 metres) are possible along the coast of the island. Florence could pass by Bermuda as a Category 2 hurricane. Category One hurricane early Sunday, becoming the second hurricane of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, after Ernesto.

               Florence is not expected in the US as it proceeds northward, but rough seas were forecast along the eastern coast.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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