Tropical Storm Georgette forms in the Pacific; tropical storm warning issued in Mexico

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tropical Storm Georgette forms in the Pacific

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Georgette has formed in the Pacific off the coast of Baja California in Mexico.

A tropical storm warning was issued Tuesday for southern Baja California.

The storm has maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (65 kph), but weakening is expected once Georgette moves inland over the peninsula later in the day.

The storm is located about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and is moving north-northwest near 9 mph (15 kph).

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland (AP) — Hurricane Igor’s winds strengthened as parts of the storm made landfall in Canada on Tuesday.

A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch were declared for the coast of Newfoundland, on the country’s eastern coast, where people were urged to prepare for possible power failures and flooding from heavy rain.

“The worst weather part of the storm is actually making landfall,” said Chris Fogarty, of the Canadian Hurricane Center. “It doesn’t have that hurricane appearance any more, but the winds are actually increasing. A major swath of wind is about go through Eastern Newfoundland and we’re quite concerned about that.”

Fogarty said there are preliminary reports of bridges being washed out and flooded basements.

Igor doggedly stayed just above hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). On Tuesday, the storm center was about 155 miles (290 kilometers) south-southwest of Cape Race in Newfoundland and moving to the northeast near 40 mph (65 kph), the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.

The Canadian company Husky Energy evacuated workers from two semi-submersible drilling rigs working the White Rose offshore oil field, spokeswoman Colleen McConnell said.

Heavy rain began in some places Monday night as a trough of low pressure over the Canadian Atlantic province interacted with tropical moisture ahead of Igor. Police reported more than half a meter (1 1/2 feet) of water on one highway in the province.

The largest school board in the province closed its buildings down for at least the morning.

“We’re as ready as we possibly can be ready,” said Dennis O’Keefe, the mayor of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Igor left behind power outages, grounded boats and downed trees in Bermuda and kicked up dangerous surf on the U.S. Atlantic coast. After brushing past Bermuda, Igor veered away from the United States, but forecasters said it could still cause high surf and dangerous rip currents along U.S. beaches.

A 21-year-old man died while surfing in the storm-churned waves off Surf City, North Carolina, where he was pulled from the water Sunday afternoon. Last week, high surf kicked up by Igor swept two people out to sea in the Caribbean — one in Puerto Rico and another in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bermuda, a small British territory, escaped major damage and injuries when Igor passed about 40 miles (65 kilometers) to the west Monday night. High winds toppled trees and utility poles, and several boats were pushed aground, including the ferry Bermudian used to carry cruise ship passengers to shore.

Bermuda’s power utility said electricity was knocked out for approximately half the island, which has 68,000 inhabitants.

In Mexico, meanwhile, authorities increased the toll of known dead to 16 from flooding and mudslides as Hurricane Karl hit the southern part of the country Friday. Looting was reported Monday in parts of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, with people carrying bags of food out of stores in waist-deep water.

Meanwhile far out in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Lisa formed early Tuesday with winds near 40 mph (65 kph). The storm is located about 530 miles (850 kilometers) west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa.

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