Bill Brings Rain, Heads for U.S. and Canada

August 22, 2009

(12:30 p.m. EDT) -- The National Hurricane Center, which downgraded Hurricane Bill to a category-two tropical cyclone Friday evening, reports that Environment Canada has issued both a tropical storm warning and a tropical storm watch for parts of Nova Scotia. Tropical storm watches have also been issued for parts of Prince Edward Island and the southwestern portion of Newfoundland.

A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the coast of Massachusetts, including the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

A tropical storm warning, issued Thursday for Bermuda by the Bermuda Weather Service, is still in effect for the area. CNN and CBS News both report that Bill is dumping large amounts of rain in Bermuda. But, it seems as though the worst may have passed, causing relatively little damage.

According to the 11 a.m. advisory from the NHC, Hurricane Bill has maximum sustained winds of 100 miles per hour -- down from 105 m.p.h. Friday evening -- and is currently located about 435 miles south of Nantucket and about 710 miles east-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, which departed Cape Liberty on Thursday, will sail a revised itinerary that will visit San Juan on Sunday; St. Maarten on Monday; St. Thomas on Tuesday; and Kings Wharf, Bermuda, on Thursday.

Carnival Glory, which is scheduled to arrive back in Port Canaveral today after a seven-night Caribbean sailing, stayed at sea Wednesday, rather than visiting regularly scheduled St. Maarten. The ship also skipped its planned sea day Thursday and, instead, called in Grand Turk. Carnival Triumph, which departed from New York on Thursday for a four-night sailing, will skip a call in St. John, New Brunswick today to navigate away from the storm and will return to New York on Monday, as scheduled.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

The tropical cyclone is expected to pass offshore of the coast of New England tonight and approach Nova Scotia on Sunday, weakening as its center passes north of the Gulf Stream. Large swells are still affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas and the southeast coast of the United States. Similar swells are expected to impact the remainder of the U.S. coast and the Canadian Maritimes this weekend, creating rough surf. (See above for impacted itineraries.)

Reports predict that Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland can expect anywhere between three and seven inches of rain to fall in the area as a result of Bill. Likewise, one to two inches are expected to fall in Bermuda, Nantucket, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard.

Norwegian Cruise Line has not yet altered itineraries for Norwegian Dawn, Norwegian Majesty or Norwegian Spirit, which are all scheduled to sail Bermuda voyages from the United States' East Coast during the coming week. A notice on NCL's Web site says Norwegian Spirit departed as scheduled from Boston on Friday but may arrive in Bermuda later than scheduled, depending on the path Bill takes.

Carnival Miracle and Carnival Pride, sailing Caribbean voyages from the U.S. this weekend, have both departed on schedule, and no changes have yet been made to either ship's itinerary.

The NHC's "five-day cone," a map that outlines the possible movement of the storm over the next five days, shows Hurricane Bill passing over Nova Scotia on Sunday and the eastern coast of Newfoundland on Monday morning. Holland America's Eurodam and Maasdam, as well as Princess Cruises' Tahitian Princess, are scheduled to be in the area next week -- just after Bill's currently scheduled arrival -- but it's still too soon to tell if and how itineraries will be impacted. Caribbean Princess is scheduled to depart today for a Canada/New England sailing from New York. There has been no word yet on whether the itinerary will be altered.

According to the NHC's five-day forecast, it appears the storm could swing back around to the U.K. sometime next week.

We'll keep you updated.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor