Igor imperils Bermuda; Maryland will see rip currents
Hurricane Igor is expected to strike the island of Bermuda this weekend. Hurricane Warnings are up for the speck of land 600 miles off the Carolina shores, and authorities there are warning residents this storm is "probably the worst we have seen," with winds up to 150 mph.
The National Hurricane Center, however, says Igor's central winds have decreased to 105 mph, with higher gusts, making it a Cat. 2 storm. That would make it less powerful than Hurricane Fabian, which struck in 2003. Igor, while weaker, is moving fairly slowly (10 mph), potentially lengthening the time it will batter the island.
Six hundred miles is close enough for this powerful storm to kick up swells, heavy surf and dangerous rip currents all along the mid-Atlantic coast. The National Weather Service is advising beach-goers to beware of surf conditions this weekend:
"SOUTHEAST SWELLS FROM DISTANT HURRICANE IGOR WILL GRADUALLY
INCREASE OVER THE COASTAL WATERS TODAY [FRIDAY] BRINGING DANGEROUS RIP
CURRENTS AND SURF TO AREA BEACHES. THE MOST DANGEROUS RIP
CURRENTS ARE EXPECTED A COUPLE OF HOURS EITHER SIDE OF LOW
TIDE...WHICH WILL OCCUR AROUND 930 AM. A HIGH RIP CURRENT RISK IS
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE THROUGH THE WEEKEND AS IGOR RE-CURVES WELL OFF
THE EAST COAST."
One swimmer was caught in a rip current and disappeared at Ocean City last month as Hurricane Danielle passed far offshore. Nearly 500 people had to be rescued that weekend (Aug. 28-29). The man's body was recovered a week later, 16 miles offshore.
The experience made everyone more cautious over the Labor Day weekend as Hurricane Earl moved past, more than 100 miles off the coast, again making the surf dangerous for swimmers.
Surf aside, the weekend weather for the beaches looks great.
(AP PHOTO: Laura Emmons, Salisbury Daily Times, Sept. 3, 2010)