Hurricane Maria Speeds Toward Newfoundland With 80 MPH Winds

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Maria sped toward Newfoundland and is expected to cross the Canadian island later today with winds of at least 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.

Maria, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, was racing northeast across the Atlantic at 45 mph, the center said in a 5 a.m. Miami time advisory. The storm was about 495 miles southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, and is forecast to strike Placentia Bay, passing north of St. John’s, a base for offshore oil and gas companies.

On its current track, “the center of Maria should pass near or over extreme southeastern Newfoundland this afternoon,” the center said. “Little change in strength is expected before Maria moves over southeastern Newfoundland.”

Energy companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Hibernia Management & Development Co. have offshore facilities near the storm’s projected path, according to Bloomberg data. Hurricane Igor hit the island last year, killing three people and causing $200 million in damage.

Maria is expected to pass about 170 miles southeast of the Sable Offshore Energy Project’s Thebaud platform, Tanya White, a Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board spokeswoman, said yesterday in an e-mail.

The Sable natural-gas project is owned by a group including Exxon Mobil Canada Properties Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd., Imperial Oil Resources, Pengrowth Energy Corp. and Mosbacher Operating Ltd., according to its website.

Hurricane Warnings

A hurricane warning is in place for the coast of Newfoundland from Arnolds Cove to Brigus South, and a tropical storm warning, indicating winds of at least 39 mph are expected, was set for the area from Stones Cove to Arnolds Cove and from Brigus South to Charlottetown, the center said.

Hurricane-force winds extend 45 miles from Maria’s center. Tropical storm-strength winds reach 205 miles.

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