Cruise ships depart early because of Hurricane Irene
Hurricane Irene is expected to hit the US coast this weekend, with weather forecasters predicting it would miss Bermuda if it stays on its current path.
The hurricane rose to a Category 3 storm yesterday morning, making it officially the first major storm of the 2011 hurricane season.
The Island's three visiting cruise ships will set off a day early today, to reach port in the US ahead of the storm.
Irene is expected to increase in strength, possibly becoming a Category 4 storm early this morning before striking the Bahamas with winds reaching 115mph.
The Bermuda Weather Service yesterday said that the storm is expected to turn to the Northeast sometime around Friday. It is anticipated that the Bermuda-Azores high will keep the system away from the Island.
“The high has more or less put a blocking pattern on the storm,” a spokesman for the service said. “It will likely ride around that.”
Instead, the storm is expected to make landfall near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, around Saturday evening before travelling parallel to the East Coast, possibly making landfall again near Rhode Island.
On Tuesday night, the storm struck the Turks and Caicos Islands, cutting off electricity while battering the Islands with high winds and powerful waves.
Bermudian Virginia Stephens, who was holidaying there, told
The Royal Gazette that evening: “The winds have been fairly steady throughout the day. We were lucky enough to have power until a few minutes ago when the winds picked up!
“I think we have at least another two hours of the heavier gusts to get through before the winds start to abate.
“Overall we are fairly safe where we are on the south western end of the island.
“The bay where the hotel is situated is somewhat protected by the cruise ship pier. I am able to stand outside on the porch and feel safe.”
For information on Hurricane Irene and other storms, visit
The Royal Gazette's online Storm Watch at www.royalgazette.com/section/weather.