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Gonzalo’s 110-mph winds hit Bermuda

Associated Press

HAMILTON, Bermuda – Hurricane Gonzalo crushed trees, flattened power lines and damaged Bermuda’s main hospital during an hours-long battering that was the second pummeling of the tiny British territory by a powerful storm in less than a week.

The storm’s center crossed over Bermuda Friday night and its winds and heavy surf were still whipping at the island early today as Gonzalo moved northward over the Atlantic.

Forecasters warned of the danger of a storm surge of 10 feet that could cause widespread flooding, but a full assessment of damages likely wouldn’t come until daylight.

Just under half of the island’s 70,000 people were reported without power late Friday as the hurricane roared through, just days after Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines.

“To be struck twice by two different cyclones is unusual, to say the least,” said Max Mayfield, a former director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Gonzalo approached Bermuda as a Category 3 storm then weakened a bit to Category 2 strength just before coming ashore with sustained winds of 110 mph.

Even during the storm, people reported destroyed porches and other damage. Part of the roof at Bermuda’s main hospital was damaged and there was water damage in the new intensive care unit, police spokesman Dwayne Caines reported.

Flooding was the main concern on Bermuda, which has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world and is known for strict building codes that ensure homes can withstand sustained winds of at least 110 mph.

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