Photo By NOAA/AP
This image provided by NOAA Wednesday Oct. 15, 2014 shows Hurricane Gonzalo, lower right, which forecasters said could become a powerful category 4 storm Wednesday as it heads toward Bermuda. The storm had top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph) and was centered about 665 miles (1,075 kilometers) south of Bermuda early Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It was moving northwest at 13 mph (20 kph).
HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — People on this small British territory are hurrying to batten down for Hurricane Gonzalo, which is churning toward them as a major Category 3 storm just days after a tropical storm damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines in Bermuda.
Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, said it was too early to tell whether the hurricane would actually hit Bermuda sometime Friday, but he warned residents to be prepared for severe weather.
“The eye of the hurricane does not have to go over Bermuda for them not to experience severe conditions,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Gonzalo had top sustained winds of 120 mph (195 kph) late Wednesday and it was centered about 580 miles (935 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda. It was moving north at 9 mph (15 kph), the hurricane center said. Gonzalo grew into a powerful Category 4 storm at one point Wednesday, but weakened a bit later in the day.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Bermuda, and forecasters said a dangerous storm surge could cause significant flooding on the island, which has some 64 miles (103 kilometers) of shoreline and has an area about one-third the size of Washington, D.C. Some 3 to 6 inches (8 to 15 centimeters) of rain was predicted.
The government said it would close the island’s international airport Thursday night, when tropical storm conditions were first expected. Several airlines increased the number of flights departing Bermuda ahead of the storm.