Florida braces for 'boomerang storm'

Tropical Storm Fay was heading eastward toward Florida’s Atlantic coast early on Wednesday, with forecasters saying it will more than likely make a return trip to the waterlogged state after it finally moves offshore.

“This storm is going to be with us for a while. That’s obvious now,” Florida Governor Charlie Crist said late on Tuesday. “It looks like it could be a boomerang storm.”

Forecasters said Fay may stick around until Thursday or later. Fay on Tuesday slammed into Florida’s south-west coast, buffeting the Sunshine State with severe winds and drenching rains, while also spawning tornadoes and severe flooding.

Defying forecasts, Fay gained strength as it crossed Florida. Computer models showed that it could become even more potent as it travels over the Atlantic Ocean and eventually boomerangs back to Florida—possibly as a more powerful category-one hurricane.

At 9am GMT on Wednesday, the centre of Fay was located about 24km south of Cape Canaveral, Florida, and moving northward at about 7km/h.

Fay on Tuesday knocked out power to about 93 000 people across Florida, which was under a state of emergency, although surfers braved the elements to ride the storm-driven swells.

State authorities ordered the evacuation of tourists and closed schools in the Florida Keys and counties to the north. In Key West, shelters were set up in case residents were also forced to abandon their homes and flights were canceled.

In the Caribbean over the weekend, Fay left a trail of death and destruction—particularly in Haiti, where a truck carrying about 60 passengers plunged into a swollen river.

Deaths in Philippines
Meanwhile, Typhoon Nuri killed four people in the northern Philippines on Wednesday and brought heavy rain that forced the closure of schools in the region and in the capital, Manila, officials said.

Three children were killed by a mudslide that engulfed their home in Benguet province, while a 72-year-old woman also died in a landslide nearby.

Chief weather forecaster Nathaniel Cruz told reporters that Typhoon Nuri had winds as high as 170km/h and that it would leave Philippine territory and head towards Taiwan on Thursday morning.

Airline officials said at least five flights to the north from Manila were cancelled while traffic in the capital slowed to a near standstill because of the rain.

Storm-tracker website Tropicalstormrisk.com predicted that Nuri would strengthen into a category-three storm before hitting China later in the week.

Typhoons from the Pacific regularly batter the Phlippines.

A storm in June killed about 300 people and caused the capsizing of a crowded ferry in which another 800 people were killed.—Reuters, AFP

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