Floyd Strengthens, Nears Bahamas
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) _ Storm-weary residents in the Bahamas braced for a brush with Hurricane Floyd as it swelled and powered up to a major storm packing 120 mph winds on Sunday.
Forecasters said the hurricane would approach the central Bahamas, the same area blasted by Hurricane Dennis in August.
``I just got back on my feet from last month’s scare,″ sighed Marie Johnson of Nassau as she pulled out a few bills to pay for flashlight and radio batteries at the City Market grocery store. Customers streamed into the store to pick up hurricane supplies and newspapers that tracked the storm’s progress.
Meteorologists said the storm was unlikely to hit land before Tuesday and posed no immediate threat to the mainland United States. Still, they recommended people along the southeast coast monitor the storm’s course.
In Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, south of the storm’s center, meteorologists warned that the terrain was already saturated and that there could be heavy flooding.
Officials posted a hurricane watch for the central Bahamas and tropical storm warnings for the southeastern Bahamas and Britain’s Turks and Caicos islands.
The storm swelled in size overnight. Hurricane-force winds had broadened to 115 miles from Floyd’s center by midmorning Sunday.
Tropical storm force winds extended another 85 miles.
At 2 p.m. EDT, Floyd was about 265 miles east-northeast of Grand Turk island _ just east of the Bahamas chain _ and headed west at near 12 mph.
By Tuesday the storm was expected to come ``quite close″ to Eleuthera, a resort island that was rattled by Dennis in August, said Trevor Basden, head forecaster for the Bahamas Meteorological Department.
In Nassau, where forecasters warned of tropical storm force winds, residents Jean and Jerry Isaacs said they had canceled plans to spend a few days in Florida.
``We could get over okay today, but by the way things are going, it’ll be tough getting back,″ Jean Isaacs said.