- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 23, 2009


EDGARTOWN, Mass. — Rescue crews were searching Sunday afternoon for three people who were swept into the sea after a large wave, an effect of Hurricane Bill, washed over a crowd watching the surf in Maine.

A crowd at Acadia National Park was gathered on some rocks when the wave washed over them. Two other people who were swept into the ocean were recovered. The Coast Guard and search crews are looking for the three others.

“This is absolutely the effects of Hurricane Bill” coupled with the effect of high tide, park ranger Sonya Berger said.

Bill was being blamed for the death of a 54-year-old swimmer in Florida, who was killed Saturday. Volusia County Beach Patrol Capt. Scott Petersohn said Angel Rosa of Orlando, Fla., was unconscious when he washed ashore in rough waves fueled by Bill at New Smyrna Beach along the central Florida coast. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Lifeguards there also rescued a handful of other swimmers with suspected spinal injuries.

Bill was about 60 miles east-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Its maximum sustained winds had dropped to 80 mph, and it was moving northeast at 35 mph. The storm is expected to continue to weaken as it moves over cooler waters.

Several people also had to be rescued from the water in Massachusetts, including a couple of kayakers who got stranded in the heavy seas off Plymouth, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

He said strong riptides and beach erosion were the biggest concerns Sunday.

“Our biggest thing right now is just the rough surf,” he said.

The National Hurricane Center lifted the tropical storm warning for the Massachusetts coastline, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, early Sunday morning, and President Obama and his family arrived on Cape Cod on Sunday afternoon for vacation after the storm had passed well to the east.

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.

Tony Dorsey of Gofftown, N.H., has a camp on the Vineyard. He said the waves came up to the top of the dunes at South Beach during high tide and included “good-size rollers.”

“It overwhelmed the beach,” he said. “It reformed the beach. It’s not destroyed a lot, but it’s going to reshape the beach.”

In Canada, the hurricane was expected to bring up to 7 inches of rain to Nova Scotia and was expected to approach Newfoundland by Sunday night.

Power outages were reported across Nova Scotia’s southern shore, and some roadways near the province’s coastline were closed.

The storm drew onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse of crashing waves as it marched through Atlantic Canada.

Despite repeated warnings, people gathered in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia, and along the boardwalk in downtown Halifax as swells grew steadily in strength and size.

“So far, it’s pretty wild,” said Heather Wright, who was walking along the Halifax harbor.

“We’re not going right to the edges or nothing. And we’re here mainly to sightsee a bit and go back home and ride it out.”

Craig MacLaughlan, CEO of Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office, said no major damage has been reported in the province.

“We can be blessed that it has moved off a bit and that we’re not getting some of the damage that we thought (we would),” he said.

The storm delayed or halted ferry services from New York to Maine and kept many beaches closed.

In Montauk, N.Y., swimmers weren’t allowed in the water, but surfers were out riding the waves. State parks spokesman George Gorman said almost 2,000 surfers showed up at Montauk on Sunday — the most ever counted there. They enjoyed waves that reached as high as 16 feet.

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

“We didn’t have a stitch of breeze,” said Libby.

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

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide