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Eleuthera, Abaco, Cat Island could feel Florence effects

This National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map shows the projected path of Hurricane Florence up to 8 a.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. NOAA

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) warned yesterday that Hurricane Florence could indirectly impact some of the eastern islands of The Bahamas, including Eleuthera, Abaco and Cat Island, with dangerous sea swells as high as 20 feet, and should be taken very seriously by residents of those islands.

As of yesterday afternoon, Florence, which is forecast to pass between The Bahamas and Bermuda, was 390 miles south of Bermuda and 905 miles east southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Florence is not expected to have a direct impact on The Bahamas.

But Department of Meteorology Deputy Director Basil Dean said parts of The Bahamas will be impacted by large sea swells beginning today.

Those swells, which can be amplified during high tide, are expected to subside by Friday.

Dean said these swells pose a major problem for mariners and residents who live along the coastlines in areas set to be impacted.

Beachgoers are advised to stay out of the water. Mariners were also advised to exercise caution Continued from page A1 and to avoid going out to sea.

Officials also expressed concern about the impact of large swells on the Glass Window Bridge in Eleuthera.

NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell urged motorists to cease using the bridge until conditions subside, particularly during the high tide period – around 9:50 a.m. today.

An American man who was sightseeing in the area of the bridge in March was killed after he was swept away.

Four other people who attempted to climb the honeycomb rocks at the bridge during high sea surges that week were also injured.

According to Russell, seven people were also swept away, but were fortunate to have been pushed to the shallow side.

They were recovered.

He also recalled that two fisherman were en route from Samana Cay to Crooked Island when their boat capsized due to swells and one of the men died.

“We must stress that when the bridge goes into a rage as a result of these swells that are coming across the area, people are to refrain from going in that particular area,” Russell said.

Russell said NEMA will send instructions to the administrator on Eleuthera to close the bridge at a set time based on the level of risk.

During that time, access will be denied to the bridge.

Meanwhile, officials urged the public to ready themselves in the event of a storm, pointing out that that mid-September is the peak of the hurricane season.

There were two other systems in the Atlantic yesterday.

Hurricane Helene, which developed from a tropical storm in the far eastern Atlantic, is not expected to pose a threat to The Bahamas, though it could present a challenge for mariners.

Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to intensify into a hurricane, has set course toward the Lesser Antilles and could impact some of those islands by the weekend.

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