Florence at noon: now Category 4
All government services will remain in operation today as Hurricane Florence passes to the south of the island.
This morning the storm grew to Category 4 strength, and was predicted to intensify — but Florence was sticking to a course that would send it south of Bermuda over the next 24 hours.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of National Security said: “The ministry is reminding that all public services, including government offices, public transport and public schools will be open and operational.
“As a public safety note, the South Shore will experience unsettled surf conditions associated with Hurricane Florence and the public is encouraged to use caution on those beaches.”
The ministry said the Emergency Broadcast station on 100.1FM was in operation, and official information would continue to be released by the Bermuda Weather Service, the Emergency Measures Organisation, the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Communications.
Florence regained Hurricane strength yesterday morning and is considered a potential threat as it is expected to pass within 460 miles of the island in the next 72 hours.
At noon today, Florence was 580 miles south-southeast of the island, moving west at 13mph.
Its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours was forecast to be 360 miles to the south-southwest tomorrow at 7pm.
According the US-based National Hurricane Centre at 1pm, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 130mph.
The hurricane has turned west-northwestward, and high pressure is forecast to propel Florence on a course putting it on track for the southeastern coast of the US.
Swells churned up by the storm, which began to affect Bermuda on Friday, have reached portions of the US East Coast, with life-threatening surf and rip current conditions anticipated.
A BWS spokesman said: “Bermuda should remain outside the radius of tropical storm force winds and the only significant impact is expected to be rough to very rough southeasterly swells, which could create hazardous rip currents, especially along the South Shore.”
The storm is forecast to continue towards the United States, and approach the southeastern coast by Thursday.
Meteorologists are also tracking two tropical storms which formed off the coast of Africa.
Both Tropical Storm Isaac and Tropical Storm Helene are expected to reach hurricane strength but neither is considered a threat to Bermuda.