Bill Heads for Newfoundland, Causes Flooding, Rough Surf

August 23, 2009
(6:00 p.m. EDT) -- The National Hurricane Center, which downgraded Hurricane Bill to a category-one tropical cyclone Saturday evening, reports that a tropical storm warning remains in effect in eastern Nova Scotia, and a hurricane watch has also been issued there. The southeastern coast of Newfoundland remains under a tropical storm warning, while a tropical storm watch is in effect for its west and south coasts. A tropical storm warning also remains in effect on Prince Edward Island.

According to the 5 p.m. advisory from the NHC, Hurricane Bill's maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 75 miles per hour -- down from 85 m.p.h. earlier today -- and the storm is currently located about 385 miles west-southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

Several news outlets, including the Montreal Gazette, have reported flooding in Nova Scotia, which has left at least 14,000 homes without power.

At least one person has died in Florida, likely as the result of rough surf caused by the hurricane, according to an Associated Press report, which says that a 54-year-old man washed ashore, unconscious, on New Smyrna Beach Saturday.

Strong rip currents are impacting many coastal beaches, including those in New Jersey, as is reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In addition, ABC News has reported that a group of sightseers, including a 7-year-old girl, was swept out to sea by a rogue wave -- likely resulting from the storm -- this afternoon in Maine's Acadia National Park. At least 12 people were pulled from the water, but two remain missing.

Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes

The newest line to join the list of those making itinerary changes is Princess. Caribbean Princess, which was scheduled to depart from New York Saturday for a Canada/New England voyage, instead remained in New York until 5 a.m. this morning. It is now headed straight for its scheduled stop in Boston on Monday, skipping a planned call in Newport, RI today. The ship is now slated to arrive in Boston at 8 a.m. Monday -- two hours ahead of schedule.

Holland America's Eurodam will also sail a slightly altered Canada/New England voyage, trading a scheduled stop today in Chartlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for a call in Gaspe, Quebec. So far, the rest of the itinerary -- including a sea day on Monday and a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday -- will continue as planned.

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

Carnival Triumph, which departed from New York on Thursday for a four-night sailing, skipped a call in St. John, New Brunswick, on Saturday to navigate away from the storm and will return to New York tomorrow, as scheduled.

Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports

The storm is expected to pass off the southeastern coast of Newfoundland late today or early Monday, weakening as its center passes north of the Gulf Stream. Weakening and loss of tropical characteristics are predicted within the next 24 hours. Large swells are expected to impact the Canadian Maritimes today and tomorrow, 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.

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 today and the eastern coast of Newfoundland on Monday morning. Holland America's Maasdam, as well as Princess Cruises' Tahitian Princess, are scheduled to be in the area next week -- just after Bill's currently scheduled arrival. No changes have yet been made to either of these sailings, but stay tuned.

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