Hurricane whips Bermuda, as storms soak Texas and threaten Mexico

Imelda brought "massive sheets of rain and lightning storms," to parts of Texas, and the western coast of Mexico was bracing for Hurricane Lorena.
Image: People board up an Urban Cottage store in preparation for Hurricane Humberto in Hamilton, Bermuda
People board up an Urban Cottage store in preparation for Hurricane Humberto in Hamilton, Bermuda, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.Akil J. Simmons / AP

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By Phil Helsel

Trees snapped in Bermuda and more than 28,000 homes and businesses lost power Wednesday as Hurricane Humberto passed near the British overseas territory, and while the storm was moving away from the islands it still could produce large swells and dangerous surf, forecasters said.

Utility company Belco reported on its website early Thursday power outages affected more than 28,000 customers, and Bermuda’s government urged residents to stay off the roads due to downed trees and power lines.

Humberto, a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, had passed by Bermuda and was expected to move northeast and into the Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center said in a 2 a.m. advisory.

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But even though tropical storm warnings had been discontinued, Bermuda could still see coastal flooding and swells and rip currents that could be life-threatening.

Bermuda's government tweeted at midnight that fire and rescue services had responded to three structural fires that were called not serious, and nine medical calls and calls for what it said were minor incidents.

"We can get through this," National Security Minister Wayne Caines said before the storm hit, according to the Associated Press. "We've been through this before."

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Humberto is one of several storms or weather systems from Texas to Mexico threatening rain and winds.

The hull of a boat is tipped over in Sargent, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. According to Matagorda County Constable Bill Orton, the area received 22 inches of rain since Imelda started impacting the area Tuesday.Mark Mulligan / AP

Tropical Depression Imelda, which had been a tropical storm when it made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Tuesday, was still causing very heavy rainfall in Montgomery, Liberty, and Chambers counties, all of which are north and east of Houston, the National Weather Service said early Thursday.

Chambers County emergency operations coordinator Ryan Holzaepfel confirmed in an email that patients were rescued from a Riceland Healthcare facility in Winnie amid severe flooding. He did not know how many patients were rescued but said there were no injuries reported.

Parts of Brazoria County got more than 18 inches of rain, and Galveston got about 10 inches of rain as of Wednesday afternoon, the weather service said. A suspected tornado touched down in eastern Harris County, which includes Houston, the weather service and officials said.

There were reports of damage and downed power lines but not injuries, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said.

Flooding was reported, including in Beaumont which is on the far southeastern edge of the state.

Sargent, a town of about 2,700 residents in Matagorda County, has received nearly 20 inches of rain since Tuesday.

Karen Romero, who lives with her husband in Sargent, told the Associated Press that this storm brought with it the most rain she has had in her neighborhood in her nine years living there.

"The rain (Tuesday) night was just massive sheets of rain and lightning storms. The lightning looked like it was coming in your house," said Romero, 57.

The National Hurricane Center said Wednesday night that heavy rains and the threat of severe flooding was expected to continue over parts of southeastern Texas and southwest Louisiana for the next couple of days. Southwest Louisiana could see isolated totals of 10 inches, forecasters said.

In Mexico, a Hurricane Lorena was hugging the southwestern coast with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the hurricane center said early Thursday. That puts it as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The center of the hurricane was around 90 miles southeast of Cabo Corrientes in Jalisco, and hurricane and tropical storm warnings were issued for parts of Mexico’s western coast, according to the hurricane center.

In addition to wind, Lorena could bring 5 to 10 inches of rain, with maximum amounts of 15 inches to the coasts of the states of Michoacan, Colima and Jalisco. All that water could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, the forecasters said.

The storm is expected to continue moving near or over the southwestern coast of Mexico onThursday and approach southern Baja California Sur on Friday night or Saturday, the hurricane center said.

Associated Press contributed.