Hurricane Bill breezing past New England shores - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hurricane Bill breezing past New England shores

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Hurricane Bill turned from a threat to a nuisance in New England on Sunday, keeping many beaches closed but causing little damage.

President Barack Obama delayed his arrival for a family vacation at Martha's Vineyard until mid-afternoon, when the storm had passed well to the east.

Early Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the tropical storm warning was lifted for the Massachusetts' coastline, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Dozens of people showed up at South Beach on Martha's Vineyard with their cameras and camcorders to watch the big waves and churning Atlantic.

Several people even decided to wade into the water, despite the warnings of lifeguards about the dangerous rip currents.

"It's just crazy out there," said James Costantini, 19, a lifeguard in Edgertown. "For Martha's Vineyard, for what we're used to, it's a 10 out of 10 in terms of danger. People should not be going in the water, should not be even close."

Residents, including Justin Wyner were relieved that property damage was kept to a minimum. The water was reaching the top of the dunes, and some lifeguard stands had been damaged by waves, but flooding was minimal.

"I'm pleased to be honest with you to see that we didn't lose very much during this storm, said Wyner, 84, a part time resident of the island. "My biggest concern was what caused me to take all my boats and put all the work into bringing them way up into the harbor and securing them. I think that maybe because we did that, we didn't have a storm."

The hurricane was expected to bring up to 7 inches of rain to Nova Scotia, and was expected to approach Newfoundland by Sunday night. By 11 a.m. Sunday, it was about 90 miles (150 km) south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, according to the National Hurricane Center.

More than 50 flights at Halifax airport were canceled through Sunday, and flights in and out of Moncton, New Brunswick were canceled through the afternoon. Also, a ferry service between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland was suspended for the day.

Provincial parks in Nova Scotia were shut down and people were advised to stay clear of beaches.

Power outages were reported across Nova Scotia's southern shore, and some roadways near the province's coastline were closed, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said.

The center said southwestern Nova Scotia could get whipped by 55 mph winds, while eastern regions of the province and Cape Breton Island of could see gusts of more than 60 mph.

On Monday, the storm is expected to make landfall in Newfoundland, where tropical storm watches are in effect for the entire province, with the lone exception of the Northern Peninsula.

By midday Sunday, the storm had maximum sustained winds near 85 mph (140 kph) and was moving 33 mph in a northeast direction. The storm is expected to weaken as it moves over cooler waters.

Even as it weakened to a Category 1 hurricane Saturday, the tempest churned up rough seas and dangerous rip tides.

The Obamas delayed their planned Sunday morning departure from Andrews Air Force Base until later in the day because of the weather, White House aides said.

The stormy conditions were expected to last through the weekend.

Strong rip currents were keeping swimmers out of the water Sunday at beaches along the New Jersey shore and in New York.

"It takes a while for the ocean to relax" after strong storms, said Gary Conte, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Until it does, riptides will make dangerous sport" for surfers and swimmers.

The swimming bans were initially imposed early Saturday, as Bill churned up the Atlantic Ocean and spawned waves as high as 12 to 14 feet. High surf advisories and coastal flood watches remained in effect for most areas, and the swimming ban was expected to continue until at least late Sunday afternoon.

New York's Rockaway Beach was closed to swimmers, but not surfers, Sunday. And the beach is open.

Some areas that had prepared for the worst, saw nothing. Libby Russ, who owns the Three Belles Marina in Niantic, Conn., said they hauled in a few swimming floats from Long Island Sound on Saturday, but that was the extent of the excitement.

"It so didn't happen that we had a customer-appreciation party that turned into a hurricane party," said Libby. "We didn't have a stitch of breeze, there was a good band and a good time was had by all."

Meanwhile, forecasters said Sunday that Tropical Storm Hilda had strengthened slightly far out in the Pacific but was not threatening land. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and was about 2,025 miles (3,260 km) west-southwest of the tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, and 1,125 miles (1,810 km) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii.


Associated Press Writers Pat Eaton-Robb in Hartford, Conn.; Bruce Shipkowski in Trenton, N.J. and Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.

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