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Igor stirs up Caribbean, takes aim at Bermuda

Tropical storm Karl forms in Caribbean, heads for Mexico
Miami (AFP) Sept 14, 2010 - Tropical storm Karl formed Tuesday in the Caribbean, threatening Mexico's Yucatan peninsula with heavy winds and rains, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said. "Tropical storm Karl forms over the northwestern Caribbean," the NHC said in a statement, adding the system was packing sustained winds of 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour. Located about 435 kilometers (270 miles) east of Chetumal, Mexico, Karl is expected to move over the Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday and into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico Wednesday night or Thursday, the NHC added. "The government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm warning for the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula," while the northern coast of Belize is under a tropical storm watch, the NHC said.

"A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area... in this case within 24 hours," it added. With Karl, three major storms are now churning in Atlantic and Caribbean waters. The most powerful Atlantic storm of 2010 so far, Hurricane Igor, was barreling in the direction of Bermuda as a dangerous category four system with winds of 215 kilometers (135 miles) per hour. It has been joined in the mid-Atlantic by the fifth hurricane of the season, Julia, a less-organized storm that is expected to weaken by Thursday and poses no threat to land at the moment, the NHC said.

Tropical Storm Julia becomes hurricane in eastern Atlantic
Miami (AFP) Sept 14, 2010 - Tropical Storm Julia gathered strength in the eastern Atlantic Tuesday, becoming the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic season, the US National Hurricane Center said. At 0500 GMT, Julia was swirling about 535 km (330 miles) west of the Cape Verde islands packing sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph), making it a category one system. The storm "is moving west-northwest near 19 kph (12 mph)," the center said in a statement, warning "some additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so." The storm was not close to any land mass for now, the NHC noted.
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 14, 2010
The most powerful Atlantic storm of 2010, Hurricane Igor, whipped up dangerous swells in the Caribbean on Tuesday as it barreled west-northwest in the direction of Bermuda.

Igor, packing winds of 145 miles (230 kilometers) per hour is a category four hurricane, the second highest notch on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale, and forecasters warned it was "getting stronger."

As the powerful storm churned through the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center said tropical storm Karl had formed off the coast of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

Though still comparatively weak, the system threatened to dump more rain on Mexico, which is struggling with flooding in southeastern states including Veracruz and Oaxaca.

Almost one million people were affected by flooding this month alone which left 25 dead. The rains, which began in July, are set to worsen as the season continues to almost the end of the year.

More than one third of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz has been hit by flooding which affected some 500,000 people, according to governor Fidel Herrera.

Igor is not expected to make landfall for days. Forecasters say the storm could reach Bermuda by Sunday, but caution it is too early to know if it will be a direct hit or how strong it will be five days from now.

"Exact impacts of Hurricane Igor at the end of the week are still difficult to gauge," the Bermuda Weather Service said.

"Much more detail on Igor will be covered in the next few days, as it likely becomes a potential threat to the island."

At 2100 GMT, Igor's eye was located some 655 miles (1,055 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands and it was heading west-northwestward at eight miles (13 kilometers) per hour, US experts said.

Swells generated by the storm were due to begin affecting the archipelago later Tuesday before reaching Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands late Tuesday and Wednesday.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Although the storm's strength was expected to fluctuate in the coming days, "Igor is expected to remain a very powerful hurricane through Thursday," it added.

Of more immediate threat to land was tropical storm Karl, which the NHC said could bring coastal flooding and up to eight inches of rain to Mexico and parts of Belize and northern Guatemala.

"A storm surge is expected to produce some coastal flooding near and to the north of where the center makes landfall," the center said. "The surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves."

"Karl is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches over the Yucatan peninsula, Belize and northern Guatemala, with isolated maximum amounts of eight inches," the center added.

A third weather system, Hurricane Julia, continued to strengthen, with high winds increasing to 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, making it a category one storm as it tracked slowly west-northwest.

"Little change in strength is forecast during tonight or Wednesday, following by slow weakening by Thursday," the NHC said.

Last 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.

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Hurricane Igor gets stronger, storm Julia follows
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 ... read more

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