Bermuda back in business after brush with Florence

Report
from Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
Published on 12 Sep 2006
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The lights were back on in most of Bermuda on Tuesday after the British territory's close encounter with Hurricane Florence, while two more storm systems revved up in the Atlantic far from land.

Florence was racing away from Bermuda, while Tropical Storm Gordon's winds grew to 60 mph (97 kph) and a new tropical depression, the eighth of the 2006 Atlantic season, was born off the Cape Verde Islands.

Only about 3,000 of the 25,000 homes and businesses in Bermuda that lost electric service on Monday remained without power on Tuesday, the Bermuda Electric Light Company said.

The airport, government offices and transit systems reopened in the tourist playground of about 65,000 people, where the only damage appeared to be downed trees and power lines, shattered windows and a few leaky roofs.

Falling branches killed two flamingos at the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo.

"We have been spared the complete wrath of this storm," acting Premier Ewart Brown said.

In 2003, Hurricane Fabian, the strongest storm to hit Bermuda in 50 years, killed four people and did about $500 million worth of damage.

Florence was about 715 miles (1,151 km) southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) and residents of eastern Canada were cautioned to keep an eye on the storm, which was charging toward the northeast at 23 mph (37 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

It had sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

Tropical Storm Gordon was headed through open water on a track that would take it well east of Bermuda by Friday. It was expected to become a hurricane within a day.

Gordon's center was located about 490 miles (790 km) north-northeast of the Leeward Islands and was moving to the north-northwest at about 9 mph (14 kph).

Forecasters were also tracking a system that could become Tropical Storm Helene in the next 24 hours. It was about 185 miles (300 km) south-southeast of the Cape Verde Islands.

The six-month hurricane season that began on June 1 has produced only two hurricanes so far.

The 2005 season broke records with 28 tropical storms, of which 15 became hurricanes. The worst was Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, killed 1,500 people along the U.S. Gulf Coast and caused $80 billion in damage.

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