Monday, August 24, 2009

Weaker Hurricane Bill reaches Newfoundland

Hurricane Bill made landfall early Monday at Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula with much less punch after knocking out power to thousands of people in Nova Scotia and soaking that province with heavy rain.

Weather forecasters said a weakening Bill moved over the peninsula at midnight, heading northeast, and was expected to cross Avalon Peninsula over the next couple of hours.

The Category 1 storm, moving at 56 km/h, brought 70 km/h winds, gusting to 100 km/h in Newfoundland, which had already received heavy rain from storms preceding Bill.

Herb Toms, a meteorologist at Environment Canada in Gander, said Bill was weakening to a tropical storm but would still bring plenty of wind and rain.

"It'll be northwest of Newfoundland by mid-morning," he predicted.

The town of Placentia on the southeast coast of Newfoundland issued a state of emergency Sunday evening because some of the highest tides of the year are due early Monday, CBC meteorologist Ryan Snodden said.

Officials were so concerned about potential flooding in the town, which is at sea level, they evacuated two nursing homes and a hospital, and urged residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground, he said. Three evacuation centres were set up in Dunville and Freshwater as a precaution, officials said.

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