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Forecasters expect winds to increase today

Perfect storm: An image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made yesterday shows Hurricane Katia, right, as it moves northwest through the Atlantic ocean. At left is the tropical depression moving up from the Gulf coast. (AP Photo/NOAA)

With Hurricane Katia expected to swing past Bermuda’s west over tomorrow and Thursday, cruise ships serving the Island adjusted their schedules ahead of the storm.Forecasters predicted powerful winds, with gale force gusts, to begin today and last through Thursday. Cloudy skies and some rain, possibly with thunder, are also expected for today.This morning, a heavy surf battered the South Shore, as the second hurricane of the season stood at Category 3 strength, 348 nautical miles to the Island’s south. It was moving northwest at nine knots and packing winds of 110 knots with gusts to 35 knots.Taking heed, the cruise vessel Norwegian Gem announced yesterday it was cancelling this week’s scheduled visit to the Island.The Norwegian Dawn also decided to make an early departure last night while the Celebrity Summit is set to arrive this afternoon, one day early. The Summit plans to stay in Bermuda until Thursday or Friday depending on Katia’s development.Weather models show Katia passing approximately 239 miles west-northwest of Bermuda at 11am on Thursday, as the hurricane weakens and turns northeast.Readers can track the storm online, through The Royal Gazette’s Storm Watch.