15 October 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo threatens Bermuda

Tropical Storm Gonzalo has achieved hurricane-speed winds more quickly than forecast as it sets course for Bermuda.

According to catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide, the storm passed through the eastern Caribbean on a northwest course, further east than initially forecast, delivering heavy wind and rain to Antigua and other close-by islands.

Near St. Martin, Gonzalo achieved hurricane-speed winds and continued to strengthen—more quickly than forecast. It is now a Category 2 storm with 110 mph maximum sustained winds and a minimum pressure of 973 mb.

AIR expects Gonzalo to take a turn to the northeast by early Thursday and set a course for Bermuda. It added that the hurricane is not expected to reach the US mainland.

"Direct damage from wind thus far has been isolated to roofing, with reports of some structures having complete damage to the roof,” said Scott Stransky, manager and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Additionally, there have been reports of felled trees and power outages, primarily on Antigua. Aside from wind, the storm is expected to produce up to a foot of rainfall in some areas.”

“Tropical Storm Gonzalo formed over the weekend, just east of the Antilles. As a tropical storm, Gonzalo passed through the northern Antilles. As it moved northwest on Monday, roughly between Antigua and St. Thomas, Gonzalo reached hurricane status. Hurricane Gonzalo has continued to strengthen to a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with maximum sustained wind of 110 mph and a minimum pressure of 973 mb. The storm should experience lower wind shear and warm water on its projected track, contributing to its strength and potential for damage should it impact Bermuda.”

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