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Sep 20, 2010 1:03 PM

Bermuda Dodged a Bullet

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) - Hurricane Igor swept past Bermuda and
kept lashing at the Atlantic island with high winds and furious
waves on Monday as power failures in many areas plunged people
hunkered down at home into darkness.
The storm knocked boats from their moorings and littered the
tiny British territory with downed trees and branches, but there
were no reports of major damage or injuries.
Igor weakened to just above hurricane status before its center
passed about 40 miles (65 kilometers) to the west just before
midnight. Winds of 75 mph (120 kph) battered the island, and the
U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said gusts ranged up to 93
mph (150 kph).
By midday Monday, the hurricane's center was about 275 miles
(445 kilometers) north-northeast of Bermuda and it was heading to
the north-northeast at 24 mph (39 kph), the Hurricane Center
reported.
A tropical storm watch was issued for the coast of Newfoundland
in Canada.
Igor was predicted to veer northeast away from the United
States, although forecasters said it would still cause high surf
and strong rip currents along the U.S. eastern seaboard.
A 21-year-old man died while surfing in the storm-churned waves
off Surf City, N.C, where he was pulled from the water on Sunday
afternoon.
The National Weather Service in New York City said Igor is
likely to churn up breaking waves of 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters)
Monday as it passes about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the
eastern tip of Long Island. A high surf advisory was issued for the
city through Tuesday morning.
In Bermuda, wind toppled trees and utility poles and drove some
boats aground. In Somerset, at the western end of the island, two
sailboats and a fishing vessel with a large holes in its side were
learning against the shore.
But islanders said the impact did not compare with Hurricane
Fabian, which killed four people when it hit Bermuda as a Category
3 hurricane in 2003.
"This was a powder puff compared to Fabian," Claude Wright,
67, said as he surveyed the damage.
Richard Simons, who rents out cottages near Elbow Beach, said he
found only downed branches on his property Monday morning.
"It will just take some sweeping and raking to clean up," he
said.
Bermuda's power utility reported that roughly 19,500 customers
lost electricity Sunday on the British territory of 68,000
inhabitants.
Before Igor arrived, some storm-seasoned Bermudians ventured
outside to marvel as 15-foot (5-meter) surf crashed ashore, even
through the government warned people to stay indoors, keeping in
mind that the high surf kicked up by Igor earlier swept two people
out to sea in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, far to the
south.
While many tourists hopped on flights home before the airport
closed Saturday, Elaine and Brian LaFleur of New Bedford,
Massachusetts, said they actually moved up their arrival so they
would be here when Igor hit. They wanted a new experience for their
28th trip to the island.
"We've done everything else on this island, but we've never
experienced a hurricane," said Elaine LaFleur, 62.
Hotel cancellations were reported across Bermuda, an island
about 600 miles off the U.S. coast that is popular with tourists
for its pink sand beaches and with businesspeople as an offshore
financial haven.
Bermuda's building codes specify that homes must be built with
walls at least eight inches thick, and be able to withstand 150 mph
(241 kph) gusts and sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph). Some
power and phone lines are underground.
Officials said schools would be closed Monday and Tuesday, and a
local newspaper canceled its Monday edition.
Also in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Julia was beginning to
fizzle as it swirled about 1,100 (1,770 kilometers) west of the
Azores with maximum sustained winds near 45 mph (75 kph).

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