Tropical Storm Leslie Brushes Bermuda, Heads Northeast to Newfoundland

September 10, 2012

The core of Tropical Storm Leslie passed 120 miles (200 km) east of Bermuda, bringing sustained winds of 39 mph (and gusts of up to 54 mph) and heavy rains to the island on Sunday, Sept 9.

Leslie is currently accelerating north-northeast toward Atlantic Canada with a forward speed of 18 miles per hour, and is expected to make landfall on Newfoundland, close to the provincial capital of St. John’s, on Tuesday morning as a tropical storm or a weak Category 1 hurricane, according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.

Scott Stransky, senior scientist at AIR Worldwide, said that as Leslie moves north, surf and rip currents are diminishing throughout the Caribbean.

“However, the risk of high surf and rip currents along the east coast of the United States, northern Bermuda, and the Canadian Maritime Provinces remains significant,” he said.

Although Leslie now has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, warmer-than-normal ocean waters south of Canada’s eastern seaboard and fast steering currents may facilitate Leslie’s strengthening to a Category 1 hurricane, with winds of about 75 mph, before it makes landfall on Newfoundland, according to AIR.

“However,” Stransky said, “Leslie is expected to cause much less damage than Hurricane Igor, which struck Newfoundland in 2010 with maximum winds of 85 mph and inflicted damage of USD 200 million.”

AIR said that thanks to its strict building codes and effective code enforcement, Bermuda has escaped the effects of Tropical Storm Leslie with only scattered power outages, isolated fallen trees, and brief disruption to public transit and airline service.

According to AIR, both residential and commercial buildings in Bermuda are “exceptionally well prepared to resist hurricane damage.”

Residential buildings on the island are characterized by masonry block construction, with roofs formed of limestone tiles cemented together to form a strong, unified structure. Wood frame homes, which are much more vulnerable to tropical cyclone winds, are not common. With their reinforced concrete construction, commercial buildings such as hotels are also well-suited to withstand hurricane force winds. Buildings in Bermuda also commonly have colonial shutters to protect window openings, AIR said.

AIR said it is also tracking Hurricane Michael, this season’s first major hurricane. However, Hurricane Michael poses no threat to land due to its position in the middle of the Atlantic and forecast track.

Source: AIR Worldwide

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