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Hurricane Florence: 6pm report

As of 6pm, Tropical Storm Florence lay 900 miles east-southeast of the island, and was headed west-southwest at 8mph.

The Emergency Measures Organisation has announced that it is prepared to meet on Monday as Tropical Storm Florence gets nearer.

But the first day of school is expected to go as scheduled on Monday — and all public services are “currently operating as normal, inclusive of public transportation and government offices”, a spokeswoman said.

The storm is expected to regain hurricane strength in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, high surf at the South Shore has prompted a warning for the public to use caution on the beaches this weekend.

Information on the storm and public services will be provided by official sources such as the Bermuda Weather Service, the EMO, the Ministry of National Security and the Department of Communications. The Emergency Broadcast Station on 100.1fm is operational.

Updates will be posted regularly at www.weather.bm. Other sources are:

• Facebook: www.facebook.com/dciBermuda

• Government portal: www.gov.bm

• Televised weather updates: CableVision Ch 4 and WOW Ch 100

• Government’s Emergency Broadcast station is on 100.1FM.

Hurricane Florence weakened to a tropical storm this morning, but the system is expected to rebound into a major Category 3 storm it passes near Bermuda waters early next week.

Throughout today, predicted trajectories have consistently predicted Florence passing south of Bermuda as a hurricane in the daytime on Tuesday.

Thunderstorms and showers over Bermuda today are likely to persist through the weekend, but are not associated with Florence.

At noon, the National Hurricane Centre in the United States reported that wind shear, which has sapped the storm’s strength, had “likely reached its maximum” and would dwindle as Florence continued on its course.

“All the while, sea surface temperatures will be gradually increasing to between 28 to 29C (82.4 to 84.2F), and perhaps more importantly, oceanic heat content values will double in three to four days,” the NHC site added.

“It may take the cyclone some time to gather itself once the shear abates, but once it becomes vertically stacked again, the intensity is likely to increase significantly.”

The Bermuda Weather Service said: “Tropical Storm Florence is expected to strengthen into a hurricane again in the next 48 hours.

“There is still uncertainty in the long term track but Florence is likely to be upgraded to a potential threat to Bermuda later today due to it coming within 400 nautical miles (460 miles) in the following 72 hours.”

As of noon, Florence’s closest point of approach in the next 72 hours was forecast to be 500 miles southeast of the island, at midday on Monday.

Two cruise ships, the MV Sirena and the Norwegian Escape, have cancelled visits scheduled for Wednesday, the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre said yesterday.

The Emergency Measures Organisation, which is expected to meet next Monday, announced that public transport, schools and government offices would operate as normal that day.

Florence had attained Category 4 strength by Wednesday before it weakened to a tropical storm this morning, but was predicted to rebound as a Category 3 storm by Tuesday morning.

Category 3 storms are classified as “major” and pack winds of 111 to 129mph.

The NHC predicted strong swells would reach the island today, and the BWS reported that hazardous surf conditions were especially strong on the South Shore.

Projections show a meandering course for a southerly pass through Bermuda waters on Tuesday, but the NHC warned that a variety of models were in play as wind shear jostled the storm.

The EMO warned that Florence’s approach was likely to narrow as forecasts continued.

Regular updates will be issued.

September is the traditional height of hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November.

A new low pressure system was moving into the East Atlantic last night and showed an 90 per cent chance of cyclone formation.

The disturbance was followed by a tropical wave heading off the African coast, which the NHC rated 80 per cent likely to develop over the next 48 hours.