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Hurricane Igor sweeps over Bermuda

Hurricane Igor sweeps past Bermuda, lashing the Atlantic island with high winds and furious waves and causing power failures in many areas.

Hurricane Igor swept past Bermuda and kept lashing the Atlantic island with high winds and furious waves on Monday, as power failures in many areas plunged people hunkered down at home into darkness.

A car battles heavy wind and rain in Southampton, Bermuda, on Saturday. Igor buffeted the island with hurricane-force gusts, large waves and a downpour. ((Kat Jackson/Reuters))

The storm knocked boats from their moorings and littered the tiny British territory with downed trees and branches, but there were no reports of major damage or injuries.

Igor weakened to the lowest level of hurricane status before its centre passed about 65 kilometres west of the island late Sunday night. Winds of 120 km/h battered Bermuda, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said gusts ranged up to 150 km/h.

At 11 p.m. ET Monday, the hurricane's eye was 905 kilometres southwest of Cape Race, N.L., and it was heading toward the northeast at 46 km/h, the centre reported. Igor remained a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 120 km/h.

Environment Canada issued a tropical storm watch for parts of the Newfoundland coast, and forecasters said Nova Scotia would also be hit with hazardous conditions.

Igor was predicted to steer clear of the United States, although forecasters said it would still cause high surf and strong rip currents along the U.S. eastern seaboard.

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A 21-year-old man died while surfing in the storm-churned waves off Surf City, N.C, where he was pulled from the water on Sunday afternoon.

The U.S. National Weather Service in New York City said Igor is likely to churn up breaking waves of two to three metres Monday as it passes about 1,000 kilometres from the eastern tip of Long Island. A high surf advisory was issued for the city through Tuesday morning.

In Bermuda, wind toppled trees and utility poles and drove some boats aground. In Somerset, at the western end of the island, two sailboats and a fishing vessel with a large holes in its side were leaning against the shore.

But islanders said the impact did not compare with Hurricane Fabian, which killed four people when it hit Bermuda as a Category 3 hurricane in 2003.

"This was a powder puff compared to Fabian," Claude Wright, 67, said as he surveyed the damage.

Waves crash onto the beach at John Smith's Bay in Smith's Parish as Hurricane Igor approaches in Bermuda on Saturday. ((Gerry Broome/Associated Press))

Richard Simons, who rents out cottages near Elbow Beach, said he found only downed branches on his property Monday morning.

"It will just take some sweeping and raking to clean up," he said.

Bermuda's power utility reported that roughly 19,500 customers lost electricity Sunday in the British territory of 68,000 inhabitants.

Officials said schools would be closed Monday and Tuesday, and a local newspaper cancelled its Monday edition.

Also in the Atlantic, tropical storm Julia was beginning to fizzle as it swirled about 1,770 kilometres west of the Azores islands with maximum sustained winds near 75 km/h.

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