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Tropical storm nears Island

Winds and wet weather are to sweep across Bermuda today, as Tropical Storm Gert makes its closest approach early this afternoon.The family is staying at the Fairmont Hamilton hotel, and has visited the island 14 times before.

Last night, local forecasters predicted Gert would pass 61 nautical miles to Bermuda’s east at 2pm.

Gale force winds will develop over the Island’s eastern marine area this morning.

North-easterly winds will reach 35 to 40 knots (40mph to 46mph), with potential for higher gusts during showers. Over the whole marine area, winds are expected to hold 25 to 35 knots (28.8mph to 40mph).

Winds will come from the north, then northwest, as the storm nears from the southeast.

With little bad weather in evidence near sunset yesterday, visitors took news of the coming storm in their stride.

“Maybe we should have gone to the beach today instead of tomorrow,” said first-time visitor Ann Stiber, 64, from Kenneshaw, Georgia.

Mike Neilson, 60, another member of the group, said: “I’ve been through hurricanes before, so we will just have to get ready for a hurricane party.”

Repeat UK visitors Steven and Eileen Chapman, on a two-week holiday with sons Kieron, 16, and Leuan, 12, hail from the district of Croydon affected by the London riots last week.

Mr Chapman, 47, said despite the approaching storm: “It seems very peaceful in Bermuda in comparison to Croydon.”

Mrs Chapman said: “It’s beautiful here and we love it. We’re not concerned about the storm. The hotel has not advertised it as a major concern ... We will probably go to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse or find something else to do.”

The National Hurricane Centre upgraded Tropical Depression Seven to Tropical Storm Gurt at 3pm yesterday, as it strengthened in an area of low shear.

The year’s fourth Tropical Storm will turn northeast as it passes the Island, strengthening to 50 knots (57.6mph) winds in the northwest Atlantic.

Tomorrow’s weather is expected to return to sunny periods and southwesterly winds, with occasional showers.

Gert is followed by a low pressure trough that last night was given a medium (30 percent) chance of developing into a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours.

Useful websites: www.weather.bm, www.stormpulse.com.

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Published August 15, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 15, 2011 at 9:48 am)

Tropical storm nears Island

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