World

Hurricane Humberto brings high winds to Bermuda, Imelda drenches parts of Texas

Powerful winds from Hurricane Humberto began hitting Bermuda on Wednesday as the government urged people to stay off the streets during the British territory's close brush with the powerful Category 3 storm.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Mexico declares hurricane warning for Lorena

People board up an Urban Cottage store in preparation for Hurricane Humberto in Hamilton, Bermuda, on Wednesday. Bermuda’s government called up troops and urged people on the British Atlantic island to make final preparations for an expected close brush Wednesday with the powerful Category 3 storm. (Akil J. Simmons/The Associated Press)

Powerful winds from Hurricane Humberto began hitting Bermuda on 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.

Bermuda 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 urged everyone to be off the streets by 5 p.m. local time.

Authorities ordered early closings of schools, clinics and government offices.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) 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.

Reuters reported that Humberto had left about 16,000 customers of Bermudian power company BELCO without electricity.

Caines said non-emergency medical services would be closed until Thursday. Evening flights from the United States and Great Britain were cancelled.

"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."

As of 8 p.m. ET, Humberto was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 km/h with higher gusts, and the storm was centred about 120 kilometres north of Bermuda by Wednesday evening. It was moving east-northeast at 31 km/h.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 130 kilometres from the centre, with tropical-storm-force winds reaching as far as 315 kilometres.

Imelda, another storm from the Atlantic, has deluged parts of Southeast Texas with more than 30 centimetres of rain, but officials in Houston and surrounding communities said Wednesday that so far, there have been no severe impacts from the tropical depression.

Glenn LaMont, deputy emergency management co-ordinator in Brazoria County, located south of Houston along the Gulf Coast, said that despite the heavy rainfall, he has seen no reports of flooded homes or people stranded. However, he cautioned, "we've got two more days to go on this."

"It's too early to breathe a sigh of relief," LaMont said.

Some parts of the Houston area had received up to 23 centimetres of rain. Rainfall flooded various roadways, stranding some drivers, and had caused several creeks and bayous to rise to high levels.

"Even though we've done well overnight, we haven't had any significant amounts of flooding or impacts. We can't let our guard down just yet," said Jeff Lindner, a meteorologist and director of flood operations for the Harris County Flood Control District in Houston.

Imelda is the first named storm to impact the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. That August, Harvey dumped nearly 130 centimetres of rain on parts of the flood-prone city, flooding more than 150,000 homes in the metropolitan area and causing an estimated $125 billion US in damage in Texas.

A postal truck drives through floodwaters from the effects of Imelda on Wednesday in Galveston, Texas. (David J. Phillip/The Associated Press)

Many schools in the Houston and Galveston area cancelled classes Wednesday. However, the Houston school district, the state's largest, remained open.

Imelda, which formed Tuesday, made landfall near Freeport, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h.

Tropical storm Jerry became the 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, though it remained far from land Wednesday. The NHC said tropical storm watches have been issued for Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, and Saba and St. Eustatius. The U.S. forecasting service said Jerry was expected to become a hurricane soon.

Jerry was about 1,085 kilometres east of the Leeward Islands and moving west-northwest at nearly 24 km/h. It has maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h. 

Meanwhile, Mexico has declared a hurricane warning for part of its southwest Pacific coast, as another storm, Lorena, became a hurricane as it neared land.

This week, Hurricane Dorian delivered catastrophic damage to the Bahamas. It was a Category 5 storm when it hit the island nation, with winds of up to 295 km/hr, and Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said it left "generational devastation." Today on Front Burner, in the age of intensifying storms, two very different portraits of hurricane recovery. Janise Elie of the Guardian describes the devastation of the Caribbean Island of Dominica by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Then, Rice University assistant professor Max Besbris talks about how Houston, Texas rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey that same year. 24:26

The warnings cover an area from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes. Tropical storm warnings extended from Cabo Corrientes to Punta Mita.

The NHC said Wednesday evening that Lorena had maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h, and the Guerrero state government reported intense rains and downed trees.

The storm was located about 55 kilometres southeast of Manzanillo and was moving northwest at 19 km/h.

Farther off Mexico's Pacific Coast, tropical storm Mario, which was about 900 kilometres south-southwest of the tip of Baja California, also was expected to be a hurricane by Thursday.

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