The island of Bermuda is taking a near-direct hit from Major Hurricane Nicole on Thursday, which exploded in strength over past 24 hours as it approached the island.
According to the National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center, the center of Nicole’s 30 nautical mile-wide eye was located about 10 miles (20 km) east of Bermuda as of 11 a.m. AST.
At time of update Nicole’s maximum sustained winds were near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts – a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Just a few hours earlier, at 5 a.m. AST, Nicole was a dangerous Category 4 hurricane before it gradually weakened as it moved near Bermuda.
An automated surface station on Pearl Island in Bermuda measured sustained winds of 87 mph (141 km/h) with a gust to 119 mph (191 km/h). On the forecast track, the center of Nicole will move away from Bermuda Thursday afternoon, and gradual weakening during the next couple of days is expected, the National Hurricane Center said.
A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels in Bermuda. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Nicole is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 8 inches over Bermuda through this evening.
Just 24 hours ago, Nicole was a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 km/h)