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Floyd May Miss Caribbean Islands

September 11, 1999

THE VALLEY, Anguilla (AP) _ Hurricane Floyd on Saturday whirred away from the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, but forecasters warned that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands could be hit by heavy rains and flooding.

The hurricane itself was likely to pass well north of the islands, meteorologists said. Floyd was expected to intensify, and it was unlikely to hit land soon.

It posed no immediate threat to the United States coast. Still, it was recommended that people along the U.S. southeast monitor the storm’s course this weekend.

``But it’s not going to threaten any land anywhere over the weekend,″ said Stacy Stewart, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.

Five Caribbean islands canceled tropical storm watches Friday night as Floyd, packing winds of 110 mph, moved further out to sea, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.

At 5 p.m. Saturday, Floyd was centered about 335 miles northeast of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, at latitude 22.7 north and longitude 63.5 west. It was expected to move west-northwest at 12 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extended about 105 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical storm force winds extended another 175 miles.

In Anguilla, the government closed schools Friday and residents put up hurricane shutters, in case the storm veered in their direction. Ports and airports remained open.

``Based on what I saw, the people are taking this thing serious. They are shopping mostly for dry foods and batteries, which are essential during a hurricane,″ said Lee Brooks, manager of a supermarket in The Valley, capital of the British island.

It was too early to tell if the storm would threaten the Bahamas, which lie far north of other Caribbean islands. Floyd was expected to be east of the Bahamas in about three days.

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