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After striking Bermuda, Igor drenches eastern Canada

A man walks by the excursion boat "Bermudian" after it broke loose and was pushed to shore by Hurricane Igor in St. George, Bermuda, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
The Associated Press

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland — Hurricane Igor’s winds strengthened as parts of the storm made landfall in eastern Canada on Tuesday. In the Pacific, a new tropical storm formed and was headed near a popular tourist area in Mexico.

A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch for Igor were declared for the coast of Newfoundland, on Canada’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 Centre. “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.”

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Georgette formed Tuesday and was located about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south-southeast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Its maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph (65 kph), but weakening was expected once Georgette moves inland over the peninsula later in the day. A tropical storm warning was issued Tuesday for southern Baja California. The storm was moving north-northwest near 9 mph (15 kph).

Along eastern Canada, Igor was transforming to a post-tropical storm, which has a different structure from a hurricane but still packs the same punch, Fogarty said. There are reports of bridges being washed out and flooded basements, he said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt. Wayne Edgecombe said heavy rains that flooded a key bridge in southern Newfoundland have left the Burin Peninsula’s 20,000 residents cut off from the rest of the province. Edgecombe said roads all over the peninsula have been washed out or submerged, but so far there have been no major crises.

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

Schools have been closed and some flights at the St. John’s International Airport have been delayed or canceled.

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

“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, which escaped major damage, 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.

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

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