Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cape Cod watching Hurricane Bill

By the time Sunday morning comes along, Cape Cod, Mass., could be feeling the brunt of a major hurricane.

The National Weather Service’s “cone of uncertainty” for Hurricane Bill avoids the East Coast of the United States, save for a wee sliver of the famed New England vacation spot.

It was 18 years ago yesterday that Cape Cod last felt the blow of a major hurricane, or even a Cat. 1 or 2 storm for that matter. In 1991, Hurricane Bob formed down near the Bahamas and zipped up the East Coast. Although direct landfall was made on Rhode Island, records says the highest gusts of about 125 mph were felt on the cape. That’s what being on northeast quadrant of a storm will do to you. (The northeast quadrant of a tropical system typically brings the strongest winds and strongest storm surge.)

Bermuda could end up in Bill's northeast quadrant in the coming days. Effects on the island will depend on when Bill makes his forecast turn north. If he turns sooner than later, it’ll be worse for the island, which sticks out in the Atlantic like a sore thumb.

When was the last time Bermuda suffered the wrath of a major storm? The eyewall of major Hurricane Fabian skirted the west coast Sept. 5, 2003. Sustained major hurricane-force winds were felt for about three hours. Four islanders were killed and $300 million in damage was reported, records say.

-- News Editor Brent Conklin

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