Powerful hurricane nears Bermuda

2014-10-17 09:53
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Hamilton - As the powerful Hurricane Gonzalo bore down on this tiny British territory early on Friday, the authorities called on residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground.

It is threatening to batter Bermuda with dangerous winds and life-threatening storm surge.

Premier Michael Dunkley urged residents to move to move to higher ground without delay.

"This hurricane is a large storm, and we should expect at least 24 hours of storm-force winds," he warned.

Gonzalo was expected to pass within 46km of Bermuda on Friday night, close enough to be considered a direct hit, the Bermuda weather service warned. Islanders should see tropical storm conditions by Friday morning, forecasters said.

The hurricane's arrival was coming just five days after Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines in Bermuda. About 1 500 homes were still without power late on Thursday.

Gonzalo was a Category 4 storm late on Thursday with top sustained winds of 220km/h. The centre was about 545km south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving north-northeast at 22km/h, the US national hurricane Centre said.

The capital of Hamilton was nearly deserted after midday on Thursday, although some stores remained open and reported a steady stream of customers grabbing up essentials at the last minute.

The last major hurricane to strike Bermuda was Fabian in 2003, a Category 3 storm that killed four people. The last major hurricane to cross land in the Atlantic Basin was Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which hit Cuba as a Category 3 storm.

Read more on:    bermuda  |  natural disasters  |  weather

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