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No sign of storm but expect a windy weekend

Heading for the Azores: a satellite image of Hurricane Alex over the Atlantic yesterday (Photograph by NOAA)

Hurricane Alex is not expected to affect Bermuda but serious conditions are expected over parts of the Azores early today, with the risk of “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides”, according to the National Hurricane Centre.

Many Bermudians and residents have family and friends in the Azores.

As of 8pm last night, Alex was moving northwards at 35km/h and was 530 kilometres south of Faial Island, in the central Azores. Maximum sustained winds were expected to reach 140 km/h with “higher gusts”.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Faial, Pico, Sao Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira in the central Azores, while a tropical storm warning was in effect for Sao Miguel and Santa Maria in the eastern Azores.

The NHC website states: “A northward motion with an increase in forward speed are expected Friday, followed by a turn towards the north-northwest on Saturday. The centre of Alex will move near or over portions of the Azores on Friday morning. Alex is likely to lose its tropical characteristics on Friday.

“Santa Maria in the Azores has reported wind gusts of up to 72km/h during the past few hours.

“Alex is expected to produce total rain accumulations of three to five inches over the Azores through Friday, with possible isolated maximum amounts of seven inches. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

“A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of the centre of Alex. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.”

In Bermuda, conditions are expected to remain settled today, the first day of the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. However, the first of two lows will bring rain, showers, isolated thunderstorms and gales tomorrow morning. Conditions are expected to settle later in the afternoon and into Sunday.

The second low will bring rain, showers, isolated thunderstorms, and occasional gales on Sunday night.

Today’s winds are predicted to be northwesterly light to moderate, settling south-southeasterly light to moderate by evening but increasing with strong gusts to gale force towards dawn.

Tomorrow, southerly strong to gale-force gusts to storm-force winds are expected.

Sunday’s winds are predicted to be west-southwesterly moderate, backing southwesterly light to moderate by noon and increasing by the evening.