Bermuda battens down for Category 3 Hurricane Humberto
MIAMI (AP) — Powerful winds from Hurricane Humberto began hitting Bermuda Wednesday as the government urged people to stay off the streets during the British territory’s close brush with the powerful Category 3 storm. And another growing storm threatened tourist resorts along Mexico’s Pacific.
Bahamas Gov. John Rankin called up 120 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment to prepare for possible storm recovery efforts and National Security Minister Wayne Caines said urged everyone to be off the streets by 5 p.m.
Authorities ordered early closings of schools, clinics and government offices.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said tropical storm-force winds began to hit the islands of some 70,000 people in the early afternoon and warned that hurricane-force gusts would probably last until early Thursday.
James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said the storm was projected to pass about 80 miles (130 kilometers) to the north of Bermuda around 8 p.m. Wednesday and could produce tornadoes and dangerous storm surge.
“Humberto’s a big hurricane and we’re looking at the conditions already deteriorating. There’s some very strong winds kicking in, particularly this evening,” he said.
Caines said non-emergency medical services would be closed until Thursday. Evening flights from the U.S. and Great Britain were canceled.
“We’d like to ask all of Bermuda to prepare for the storm, to know that the government and everyone is rooting for us, and we can get through this,” Caines said. “We’ve been through this before.”
Humberto’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 120 mph (195 kph) and the storm was centered about 140 miles (195 kilometers) west of Bermuda early Wednesday afternoon. It was moving east-northeast at 16 mph (26 kph).
Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 105 miles (165 kilometers) from the center, with tropical-storm-force winds reaching as far as 195 miles (315 kilometers)
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lorena posed an increasing threat to tourist resorts on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and the Baja California Peninsula.
Forecasters said Lorena was expected to brush or hit land by early Thursday somewhere between the port of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta while growing toward hurricane force. The still-uncertain long-term forecast track showed it moving on toward the Los Cabos resorts by Saturday.
Maximum sustained winds had increased to near 70 mph (110 kph) by the early afternoon, with higher gusts.
It was located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south-southeast of Manzanillo and was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph) early Wednesday afternoon.
Mexican officials also said they were concerned that some parts of southern Mexico, which have seen a lack of rainfall, could now get torrential rains and floods from a combination of Lorena and two other weather systems in the area.
In Texas, the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda threatened to drench parts of Southwest Texas and southwestern Louisiana with up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of rain over the next few days. It was the first named storm to hit the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey’s much heavier rains flooded more than 150,000 homes around the city and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.
Tropical Storm Jerry also formed Wednesday morning and was forecast to become a hurricane as it nears the outermost Caribbean islands Thursday night or Friday.
Further off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Tropical Storm Mario also was expected to be a hurricane by Thursday, while staying out to sea.