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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Azores set for Hurricane Gordon
The Azores islands in the mid-Atlantic have been placed on high alert for Hurricane Gordon, which is due to hit the Portuguese territory shortly.

People have been told to stay indoors and keep livestock inside as forecasters warn Gordon will bring heavy rain and 170km/h (105mph) winds.

Waves as high as 12 metres (40ft) are also predicted and the region's ports are expected to be the most exposed.

Some 240,000 people live in the nine Azores islands.

Farming and fishing are the mainstay of the economy of the islands, which lie about 1,500 km (930 miles) off the western coast of Europe.

Hurricane Gordon is expected to hit the islands at around 1800 local time (1800 GMT), with the archipelago's westernmost islands of Corvo and Flores taking its full force.

Ricardo Barros, vice president of the Azores Civil Protection Service, told the Associated Press news agency the islands' 1,200 emergency workers were prepared.

"We're ready," he said.

Air traffic to the islands is likely to be suspended until Hurricane Gordon leaves the region on Wednesday, he added.

A spokeswoman for Portugal's meteorological agency said the hurricane would weaken to a tropical storm before leaving the islands.

Animated guide: Hurricanes
01 Jun 05 |  Science/Nature

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