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Eye of storm nears Abaco

  • Signs of Irene’s strong winds could be seen throughout Nassau early Thursday morning. Photo: Edward Russell III

CANDIA DAMES
Guardian News Editor
candia@nasguard.com

Published: Aug 25, 2011

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The eye of Hurricane Irene was passing North Eleuthera and heading toward south Abaco around 11 a.m.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour, moving north, north-west at 13 miles per our.

Most areas of New Providence, meanwhile, were experiencing tropical storm force winds.

Meteorologist Godfrey Burnside told The Nassau Guardian eastern New Providence will experience hurricane force winds because it is closest to Eleuthera.

Burnside said while most of the impact of the storm is expected to pass New Providence by 5 p.m., meteorologists do not expect to give the all clear until tomorrow morning. That is because tropical storm force conditions are expected to persist throughout the night.

Tropial storm force winds extend 290 miles from the center of the storm, and hurricane storm force winds extend 70 miles from the center. The eye of the storm is expected to move close to Marsh Harbour, Abaco, and clear that island around 9 or 10 p.m.  After Abaco, the storm is expected to head toward the Carolinas.

Grand Bahama — which was lashed by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004 and Wilma in 2005 — is expected to be spared the full brunt of Hurricane Irene.

The island is likely to experience winds of no more than about 40 miles per hour, Burnside said. He said the Automatic Weather Station in Arthur’s Town, Cat Island, recorded gusts of 140 miles per hour around 2 a.m. today, and Moss Town, Exuma, recorded gusts up to 127 miles per hour. “That is significant and that is why you hear all the damage taking place,” Burnside said.

Just over two inches of rain had fallen at Lynden Pindling International Airport at 9 a.m., and more was expected.

Burnside urged New Providence residents who were still out and about to head indoors and remain there for the duration of the storm.

No significant damage was reported this morning in New Providence, but the top of the straw market tent on Bay Street was destroyed by strong winds.

Many of the trees along the Cable Beach median were also uprooted. The parking lot at Saunder’s Beach was covered in sand from the nearby beach and seven large trees had falllen along a portion of the road leading from LPIA.

Teams were out cleaning up the streets of New Providence this morning so emergency vehicles could move about freely.

The Bahamas Electricity Corporation is strongly advising residents experiencing problems with power lines to turn off power in their homes or buildings from the main power switch.

The corporation advised residents to avoid approaching downed power lines, as severe bodily harm or death are possible.

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