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Tropical Storm Warning For New England Area

Hurricane Bill swells to Cat. 2, winds at 105 mph


HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — Hurricane Bill shut the airport and caused flooding but no casualties on Bermuda on Saturday, then prompted tropical storm warnings for parts of Canada and the U.S. coast — including President Obama’s planned vacation spot.

Bill had winds of 100 mph (160 kph) after blowing between Bermuda and the East Coast of the U.S.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that Bill could bring “extremely dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents to parts of the U.S. East Coast over the weekend before making a direct hit on Canada’s Maritime Provinces as a tropical storm on Sunday.


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In this satellite image released Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Bill is seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Bill weakened slightly early Friday but still threatened to flood Bermuda's coastlines and generate dangerous waves and riptides along the eastern U.S. coast. The Category 3 storm's maximum sustained winds lost a little strength to near 115 mph, from 125 mph late Thursday. (AP Photo/NOAA)

In this satellite image released Friday, Aug. 21, 2009 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Bill is seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Hurricane Bill weakened slightly early Friday but still threatened to flood Bermuda's coastlines and generate dangerous waves and riptides along the eastern U.S. coast. The Category 3 storm's maximum sustained winds lost a little strength to near 115 mph, from 125 mph late Thursday. (AP Photo/NOAA)

Officials declared a tropical storm warning for the Massachusetts coast, including Obama’s planned vacation spot of Martha’s Vineyard, though the storm’s eye was expected to stay offshore and pass that island before the president arrives on Sunday.

The warning, which also includes Nantucket, means meaning tropical storm-force winds of 40 mph (65 kph) or more could hit in the next 24 hours.

Bill was expected to start weakening Saturday night, but the Canadian Hurricane Center issued tropical storm and hurricane warnings for parts of the province of Nova Scotia.

A ferry service between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland announced it would shut down Sunday morning due to severe weather.

In Bermuda, the storm mostly spared the pink-sand shores though it cut power to about 3,700 customers and flooded some roads along the northern coast. The airport was closed overnight and all ferry service was canceled until Sunday.

Bermudians and tourists awoke to some water on the roads, rain and gusting winds.

“It was something to behold. I’ve never been in a hurricane before,” said Kenny Mayne, 50, of Connecticut, a vacationer who hopes to head back to the U.S. on Sunday.

Heavy surf pounded Bermuda but neither the island’s main hospital nor its urgent care center reported any patients with storm-related injuries.

“Believe it or not we’ve had a very quiet night with Hurricane Bill,” said Lieutenant Dana Lovell of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service.

At the 9 Beaches resort on Bermuda’s western coast, general manager Robin Gilbert said about 10 guests slept on mattresses in the lobby because they were worried about staying in beachfront cabanas overnight. The resort had no power for about 12 hours, but there was no damage.

On Friday night, the streets of Bermuda’s capital were mostly empty and blanketed with rain. Luxury boutiques boarded up their windows. At the bar of the Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotel, a few guests sampled the “Dark ‘n Stormy” cocktail as Bill’s outer bands raked the island.

Canadians, meanwhile, were getting ready for a blow.

Mark Perry, a government worker in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said his family had readied for severe weather with batteries for flashlights, extra water and propane for the barbecue.

“We’re concerned enough that we’re going to tie things down, move the lawn furniture into a safer spot,” Perry said.

Another Halifax resident, James Burchill, said he learned a lesson from last storms: he bought a manual can opener because power cuts made his electric model useless.

“Most of the time they blow past,” Burchill said. “But they can do a lot of damage.”

At 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) Saturday, the center of Bill was about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of Nantucket and about 710 miles (1,140 kilometers) south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Hurricane force winds extended as much as 85 miles (140 kilometers) from the Category 2 storm’s center, and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 275 miles (445 kilometers).

On the U.S. East Coast, forecasters warned of offshore waves of 20 feet (6 meters) or more and rip currents at the beach during one of the summer’s last weekends.

Bill was the first Atlantic hurricane this year after a quiet start to the season that runs from June through November. It peaked as a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph (217 kph) winds on Wednesday.

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Associated Press writer Amanda Dale in Hamilton contributed to this report.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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