Skip to main content

Leslie loses strength, downgraded to tropical storm

By Michael Pearson and Lateef Mungin, CNN
updated 1:50 PM EDT, Fri September 7, 2012
  • NEW: Leslie is downgraded to a tropical storm
  • NEW: But forecasters say it will likely return to hurricane strength
  • Forecasters warn of life-threatening rip currents on U.S. beaches from Leslie

(CNN) -- Hurricane Leslie lost power as it idled over the ocean Friday, weakening into a tropical storm that appeared likely to miss Bermuda.

Forecasters warned that large waves and dangerous rip currents would still pose a threat to coastal areas, and near-tropical-storm-force winds would lash the island Sunday.

The storm also was likely to regain hurricane strength as it moves off the pool of cool ocean water it created for itself while idling for hours more than 400 miles away from Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center said.

However, forecast models indicated it would likely remain a Category 1 storm, rather than the more powerful Category 2 storm previously forecast.

A tropical storm watch remained in effect Friday in Bermuda, where schools were closed and government offices were preparing to close early to give residents more time to prepare.

Government officials are planning to close the damage-prone causeway linking the main portion of the country with St. David's Island, where its international airport is located, on Saturday, the Emergency Measures Organization said. Sea ferry service will be suspended Friday night, the agency said.

Wayne Perinchief, Bermuda's national security minister, said Thursday that officials were planning a "well-coordinated" response to any problems caused by the storm.

For days, the storm has been dishing out heavy swells and dangerous currents in coastal areas of Bermuda, the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the U.S. East Coast from Florida to New York, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters warned of potentially deadly rip currents that can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea quickly. The agency warned beachgoers to stay out of the surf until the danger passes.

Another hurricane, Michael, formed late Wednesday in the eastern Atlantic. The first major hurricane of the season, it remained a Category 2 storm, with winds of near 105 mph.

Michael is the seventh hurricane of the 2012 season, but posed no immediate threat to land and is expected to weaken in the coming days, the hurricane center said.

Are you affected? Share your photos and videos on CNN iReport

Part of complete coverage on
Superstorm Sandy
updated 8:17 AM EST, Mon November 5, 2012
A mother learns that her newborn is part of a hospital evacuation. Facebook posts from a member of the HMS Bounty turn ominous. A man worries about the wind and rain, but another force of nature hits home.
updated 2:53 PM EST, Thu November 29, 2012
Tourists become volunteer rescue workers. The connected provide power outlets and Wi-Fi. Performers lift spirits. Photographers preserve images. Doctors work overtime to keep hospitals running and patients alive.
Get to know the victims of Superstorm Sandy through our interactive feature.
updated 10:42 AM EST, Fri November 30, 2012
It has been in operation only since October 30, but the Facebook page for "Giving back to those affected by Sandy" has a longer timeline than most Facebook members.
updated 3:07 PM EST, Sun November 25, 2012
It's important to remember that even as the effect of Superstorm Sandy recedes from the news, there are still devastated areas that are without electricity, heat or hot water.
updated 11:46 AM EST, Sat November 24, 2012
The rapper 50 Cent brought a little holiday cheer and Thanksgiving food to New Yorkers hit hard by Superstorm Sandy.
updated 12:10 PM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
Our AmeriCares "Operation Muck-Out" team immediately got to work, ripping out the interior walls and removing the insulation until only wooden beams were standing.
updated 12:19 PM EST, Tue November 20, 2012
Ashley Murray became the first female president of Liberty Industrial Gases and Welding Supplies Inc. in Brooklyn. But now the family history Murray was charged with preserving is at risk of ending after Superstorm Sandy.
Truckloads of donations from across the country, carrying everything from bottled water to diapers, are arriving at places of worship.
updated 12:16 PM EST, Tue November 20, 2012
The adage says "a picture is worth a thousand words," but when Leeann Lewandowski happened upon a photograph of her late mother on Facebook after her home was destroyed in Superstorm Sandy, she was speechless.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Fri November 2, 2012
Roots ripped out of the ground as a large oak tree fell toward Olga Raymond's front door. With it came a power line.
iReporters share their photos, videos and stories of living in the path of the superstorm.