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Hurricane Igor gets stronger, storm Julia follows

Haiti prepares mass evacuations as Hurricane Igor advances
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Sept 13, 2010 - The government of Haiti on Monday made plans to relocate thousands of homeless Haitians still living in displaced persons camps, as Hurricane Igor made its way toward their earthquake-ravaged country. Haiti's Civil Protection Agency late Sunday declared an "orange alert," warning that several regions could be prone to flooding as a result of heavy rains expected in the next 48 hours as Igor drew nearer. "Listen to announcements, follow instructions and prepare to relocate if it is necessary," said Nadia Lochard, a spokeswoman for the agency. Lochard explained that people living in camps that faced the danger of flooding could be asked to relocate.

The January 12 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed about 250,000 people in Haiti made another 1.3 million homeless, thousands of whom remain sheltered in temporary refugee camps. Tent cities have sprung up in and around the ruined capital of the poorest country in the Americas, with little sign that those left homeless and destitute will move into more permanent housing in the near future. International aid has been slow in coming, with only a fraction of the funds promised for rebuilding efforts actually disbursed. Earlier in the hurricane season, the United Nations identified 130 tent cities as being at risk from rains and winds that could further worsen conditions for the most vulnerable, including thousands of orphaned children.
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 13, 2010
Hurricane Igor, swirling in the central Atlantic, strengthened early Monday, sparking concerns about possible flooding in the Caribbean, including in quake-devastated Haiti.

Coming behind it was Tropical Storm Julia which formed overnight near the coast of Africa and was moving northwest after skirting the Cape Verde Islands.

Igor, a powerful category four storm, was barreling west at 10 miles (17 kilometers) per hour, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

"A turn toward the west-northwest with some decrease in forward speed is expected to occur tonight or Tuesday," the NHC said.

At 1500 GMT, the storm had maximum sustained winds near 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour, up from 140 miles (220 kilometers) overnight.

"Some fluctuation in intensity is likely during the next 48 hours," the center warned. "And Igor could become a category five hurricane today."

The center of the storm was currently located 880 miles (1,420 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands.

Forecasters said Igor could brush the northern Caribbean, possibly heading toward Bermuda afterwards.

Although Igor was not expected to hit land directly, the approach of the hurricane has sparked concern in the Caribbean basin about torrential rains that it could bring with it, including in Haiti, which is still recovering from a massive earthquake in January.

Meanwhile, as Igor made its way across the Atlantic, a new tropical storm formed off the coast of Africa, with warnings being issued for the southern Cape Verde Islands.

Tropical Storm Julia was projected to become a hurricane in the next couple of days, according to the NHC.

At 1500 GMT, Julia was located 115 miles (185 kilometers) southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, packing sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) an hour, and dumping rain on the archipelago located off the western tip of the African continent.

"Tropical storm force winds in squalls are occurring over portions of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, but should diminish later today," the hurricane center said.

"Additional rainfall accumulations of one to two inches are possible over the northwest portion of the islands with isolated maximum amounts of four inches possible," it said.

"These rainfall amounts could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," it warned.

Early this week, powerful Tropical Storm Hermine slammed into far northeastern Mexico and then barreled into US territory, sparking flash floods on both sides of the border.

Hermine came on the heels of Hurricane Earl, which gained category four status at its height in the Atlantic Ocean, whipping up heavy winds along the east coast of the United States and Canada.

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Igor strengthens to category four hurricane
Miami (AFP) Sept 12, 2010
Igor, swirling in the central Atlantic and not a threat to land, strengthened to a powerful category four hurricane Sunday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said. Hurricane Igor "rapidly intensifies into a category four hurricane," on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, the NHC said in a special advisory. The storm had maximum sustained winds near 135 miles (215 kilometers) per ... read more

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