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Danny wets East Coast; Pacific storm strengthens

Maideline Sanchez

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From the Associated Press

BOSTON – Heavy rain and dangerous rip currents from a weak tropical system emptied East Coast beaches for a second straight late-summer weekend, while a Pacific hurricane grew stronger Saturday and threatened the Mexican coast.

Jimena, the 10th named storm of the Pacific season, quickly became a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kmh).

Fueled by warm Pacific waters, Jimena could be a major Category 3 hurricane by Sunday as it tracked north-northwest at 12 mph about 655 miles (1,055 km) off the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. It was 270 miles (435 km) south of Manzanillo, Mexico.

Farther out in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Kevin formed with top winds of 45 mph (75 kph). The storm’s center on Saturday afternoon was about 1,065 miles (1,720 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm could get stronger as it moves to the west-northwest, forecasters said.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Danny spun miles offshore in the Atlantic, causing mostly rain in the East. National Hurricane Center forecasters said Danny had been mostly absorbed by a low pressure system associated with a cold front over North Carolina.

“We were expecting that that was going to happen sooner or later. It happened a little bit sooner,” said senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila. “Basically Danny has been swallowed by the big low.”

In Boston, heavy rain fell on hundreds lining sidewalks as the funeral procession of Sen. Edward Kennedy passed through the city. A flood watch remained in effect for parts of Massachusetts as beaches were ordered closed and public ferry services in and around Boston were canceled. Cape Code and nearby islands were expecting 40 mph winds later Saturday.

“We getting a number of reports of 2 to 4 inches of rain in the area,” said Kim Buttrick, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. “Wind isn’t a factor now, but a wind advisory is in effect for the islands until this evening.”

Towns along the Connecticut shore were prepared for the storm and had sandbags and water pumps placed on standby.

Large waves kept most people out of the water at beaches along the New Jersey shore Saturday, the second straight weekend marred by a tropical storm system.

Waves as high as 6 to 8 feet were reported up and down the Jersey coast by late Saturday morning, and forecasters said the waves could be slightly higher as the day progressed. But those conditions were expected to improve during the overnight hours into Sunday, when wave heights were expected to return to normal.

No injuries were reported, though authorities in Fair Lawn, N.J., rescued nine people trapped in five vehicles along a flooded street.

In North Carolina, tropical storm watches for the coast were discontinued, but people were urged to be cautious near the water.

The dangers of storm-agitated seas were demonstrated when a young boy disappeared Friday in rough surf off North Carolina. His mother reported seeing him go underwater off the town of Corolla, not far from the Virginia line. His body board washed ashore without him.

The Coast Guard and local authorities spent hours looking for the 12-year-old boy but called off the search Friday evening and didn’t expect to continue searching Saturday.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Scott Hembrook said the waves in the area were about 4 to 6 feet tall.

In New York’s Long Island, Nassau County’s health department closed 20 beaches Saturday because of heavy rainfall. Suffolk County closed two beaches and advised against bathing at 64 more.

Storm water runoff often leads to sewage discharges and elevated bacteria levels on Long Island sound.

Health officials say the beaches will be reopened once tidal cycles have flushed the area.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
Danny wets East Coast; Pacific storm strengthens