Monday, September 20th, 2010...9:34 am

Hurricane Igor moves away from Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, CMC – A weakening Hurricane Igor is expected to continue moving away from Bermuda on Monday and should begin affecting New Foundland by Tuesday, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC).

It said that Igor, which now has maximum winds of 75 miles per hour, was located 135 miles north of Bermuda.

The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) has already downgraded its hurricane warning to a Tropical Storm warning as the winds caused some destruction on the tiny British Overseas Territory.

Weather officials said that the hurricane battered the island with winds in excess of 90 mph just before midnight but there were no immediate reports of death or injury.

The streets of the capital were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris and the BWS reported that roughly 19,500 customers had lost electricity by Sunday evening.

The authorities had urged citizens to remain indoors and await the passage of the storm. The officials said schools would remain close on Monday and Tuesday, and one local newspaper has cancelled its Monday edition.

The LF Wade International Airport cancelled all flights to and from the island and said it would remain closed until Tuesday morning.

A British Royal Navy ship and helicopter have been stationed offshore to assist in case of widespread damage, and authorities mobilised the island’s part-time army – the Bermuda Regiment – placing 200 soldiers on standby.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre has issued a Tropical Storm watch for the cost of New Foundland from Stones Cave eastward and northward to Jones Harbour.

The MHC said that Igor, which at one stage had reached a Category Four status, was moving towards the north-northeast near 20 miles per hour (mph) and an increase in forward speed is expected in the next 24 to 36 hours.

“On the forecast track, Igor will continue moving away from Bermuda and pass offshore of the southeastern tip of New Foundland on Tuesday”.

It said that little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours and “Igor is expected to become a strong extra tropical cyclone in the next day or two”.

The NHC said that the significant rainfall associated with the storm has ended but that storm surges will lead to coastal flooding. “The surges will be accompanied by large and destructive waves especially along the southern coast,” the NHC added.

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