Florence at noon: beware of rough swells
Florence has regained hurricane strength this morning, but Bermuda should be spared severe winds.
Florence is labelled a potential threat to the island because its centre is expected to pass within 460 miles in the next 72 hours.
The Bermuda Weather Service said the island is likely to remain outside Florence’s radius of tropical storm force winds but warned of potentially very rough southeasterly swells which could create hazardous rip currents, especially on the South Shore.
At noon today, Florence was 750 miles southeast of the island, moving west at 6mph. Its closest point of approach to Bermuda within 72 hours was forecast to be 360 miles to the south-southwest on Tuesday at 7pm.
It had maximum winds of 75mph with higher gusts.
The US-based National Hurricane Centre said: “Florence is forecast to rapidly strengthen to a major hurricane by Monday, and is expected to remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane through Thursday.
“Swells generated by Florence are affecting Bermuda and are beginning to reach portions of the US East Coast. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
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.
Ken Smith, a meteorologist at the BWS, said that thunderstorms of the past few days were “not at all associated with Florence”.
In keeping with September’s status as the height of hurricane season, Florence was one of four systems dotted around the Atlantic — including a trough of showers and thunderstorms southwest of Bermuda, Tropical Storm Helene near Cape Verde, and Tropical Storm Isaac which appears on a track towards the Caribbean. Neither Helene nor Isaac are deemed a threat to Bermuda at this time.
Mr Smith said that a hurricane’s strongest winds lie in the storm’s “right forward quadrant” from its direction of movement.
Florence, moving east to west, packs the strongest winds in its northwestern quadrant as a result.
The Emergency Measures Organisation has said it is prepared to meet tomorrow. However, the first day of school was expected to go as scheduled.
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