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Hurricane Bill to Pass East Coast, Head to Canada (Update2)
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Bill is forecast today to pass through open seas between the U.S. East Coast and Bermuda as it moves toward the Canadian Maritimes. A tropical storm warning was issued for the southern Massachusetts coast.
The storm had sustained winds of 105 miles (165 kilometers) per hour, making it a Category 2 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was 410 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and moving north at about 22 miles per hour, the center said today in its 8 a.m. advisory. That position is about 510 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, the forecasters said.
While the hurricane is forecast to eventually curve away from the U.S., a tropical storm warning was issued today for the coast of Massachusetts close to Cape Cod, from Woods Hole to Sagamore Beach, including Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, where President Barack Obama and his family are scheduled to travel tomorrow for a week’s vacation. The hurricane should also reach Canadian waters tomorrow.
“It will definitely be a hurricane when it reaches our Maritime waters Sunday,” said Peter Bowyer, a program supervisor at the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “At thispoint, it is still not possible to give all the specifics everyone wants.”
It’s poised to bring as much as 6 inches of rain and hurricane force winds to the Maritimes, the centre predicted. The provinces are also experiencing the highest tides of the year, so there is potential for a large storm surge if Bill arrives at the wrong time, Bowyer said.
Bermuda on Alert
Bermuda, a British overseas territory, is under a tropical- storm warning. The center of Bill is expected to come within about 200 miles, the Bermuda Weather Service said. Troops are on standby as the island faces total rain accumulations of 1 to 2 inches.
Bill will raise the tides 3 feet above ground level near the coast of the island, the weather service said.
Large swells from Bill “are affecting the Bahamas and Bermuda and beginning to affect the southeast coast of the United States,” the U.S. hurricane center said. “Large swells will begin to affect much of the remainder of the U.S. East Coast and the Atlantic Maritimes of Canada later today and Sunday. These swells will likely cause extremely dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents.”
Workers are being evacuated from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, a gas field 125 miles off Nova Scotia, said Margot Bruce-O’Connell, a spokeswoman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. The rigs, backed by Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, were closed for maintenance and the storm won’t affect production, she said.
Some refineries in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick may be at risk, including closely held Irving Oil’s Saint John plant that processes about 300,000 barrels of oil a day, according to Olivier Jakob, an analyst with research group Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.
“The marine environment on Sunday and Sunday night is going to be a harsh environment,” Bowyer said. “It is too uncomfortable a scenario to take a chance on.”