The latest weather RADAR from the Bermuda Weather Service shows a disaster unfolding there: Major Hurricane Nicole, a powerful Category 4 hurricane, is striking Bermuda.
The storm weakened a tad this morning, dropping from a Category 4 storm with 130mph maximum sustained winds to a Category 3 storm with 125mph maximum sustained winds and gusts around 160mph, Hurricane Nicole is the strongest hurricane on record to impact the British Territory. The last strongest hurricane to impact the island was Hurricane Fabian in 2003; it was only a Category 3 hurricane, but caused more than $300million in damages and claimed 4 lives.
In this morning’s advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Nicole was a large and dangerous storm that was bringing numerous hazards with it to Bermuda.
At 8am, it was located near latitude 31.6 North, longitude 65.2 West. Nicole is moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph and a turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected by this evening. Although a gradual weakening is forecast, Nicole is expected to remain a major hurricane when it moves through Bermuda today. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 65 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles. A sustained wind of 51 mph (85 km/h) with a gust to 69 mph (111 km/h) was recently reported at Pearl Island in Bermuda. The estimated minimum central pressure is 953 mb (28.14 inches).
Hurricane force winds will battered the island all day. Meanwhile, a dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6-8 feet above normal tide levels; this surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. 5-8″ of rain is expected by this evening which will create flooding conditions. Tornadoes are possible too on Bermuda from this tropical cyclone.
No direct impacts from Major Hurricane Nicole are expected in the US. However, swells associated with the storm will spread northward along the United States east coast from the Carolinas northward through the next few days. These swells will create dangerous surf conditions and rip currents. In Wallops Island, Virginia, a rocket launch scheduled to deliver supplies to the International Space Station has been delayed; the mission’s tracking station is located on Bermuda.
The last significant hurricane to impact Bermuda head-on was Category 2 Hurricane Gonzalo in October of 2014. That storm made landfall on the southwestern coast and brought roughly 12 hours of hurricane-force winds to the island. In Gonzalo, winds peaked at 144mph at St. David’s Island, producing extensive roof and structural damage. At the height of the storm, about 31,000 out of 36,000 electricity customers are without power. While the damage toll came in at approximately $400million, there were no deaths or major injuries.
To see more data and maps on Hurricane Nicole, visit our Hurricane and Tropical Weather page here: http://www.weatherboy.com/hurricanes-tropical-weather/