Humberto brushes Bermuda as new hurricane threatens Mexico

MIAMI — Hurricane Humberto lashed Bermuda with strong winds Wednesday as the powerful Category 3 storm passed just to the north of the British Atlantic territory, while a newly formed hurricane threatened tourist resorts along Mexico's Pacific coast.

The hurricane came within about 75 miles (120 kilometres) of Bermuda before moving away out toward open waters late Wednesday.

Bermuda Gov. John Rankin put 120 soldiers of the Royal Bermuda Regiment on alert for possible recovery efforts and National Security Minister Wayne Caines cautioned everyone to stay inside until Humberto's winds subsided Thursday. Authorities had ordered early closings of schools, clinics and government offices.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said hurricane-force winds began to hit the island of some 70,000 people by late afternoon and tropical storm-strength winds would last into early Thursday.

Humberto's maximum sustained winds were holding at 120 mph (195 kph) late Wednesday. The storm was centred about 130 miles (205 kilometres) north-northeast of Bermuda and was moving east-northeast at 23 mph (37 kph).

James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, warned that the storm could produce tornadoes and dangerous storm surge.

"Humberto's a big hurricane and we're looking at the conditions already deteriorating. There's some very strong winds kicking in," he said.

Caines said non-emergency medical services would be closed until Thursday. Evening flights from the U.S. and Britain had been cancelled.

"We'd like to ask all of Bermuda to prepare for the storm, to know that the government and everyone is rooting for us, and we can get through this," Caines said. "We've been through this before."

Meanwhile, new Hurricane Lorena posed an increasing threat to tourist resorts on Mexico's Pacific Coast and the Baja California Peninsula.

Forecasters said Lorena's core was expected to pass "near or over the southwestern coast" somewhere between the port of Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday night and Thursday. The still-uncertain long-term forecast track showed it approaching the Los Cabos resort area Friday night and Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds were 75 mph (120 kph) Wednesday night. It was centred about 35 miles (55 kilometres) southwest of Manzanillo and was moving northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Hurricane warnings were in effect from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes.

Heavy rains were spreading onshore along the coast, the Hurricane Center said. Mexican officials voiced concern that some parts of southern Mexico, which have seen a lack of rainfall, could now get torrential rains that could result in dangerous flash floods and landslides.

In parts of Colima, Jalisco and Michoacan states, "it is forecast that the total accumulations of rain could ... represent 40% of the rain for an entire year in that part of the country," said Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, director-general of Mexico's National Water Commission.

Classes were suspended in Colima as a precaution.

In Texas, the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda drenched parts of Southeast Texas, but officials in the Houston region said that there had been no severe problems by late Wednesday. It was the first named storm to hit that area since Hurricane Harvey's much heavier rains flooded more than 150,000 homes around the city and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas.

Tropical Storm Jerry also formed Wednesday morning far out in the Atlantic and was forecast to become a hurricane before closing in on the outermost Caribbean islands Thursday night or Friday.

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