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Epsilon reaches hurricane strength

Hurricane Epsilon’s forecast path as of 9am on Wednesday. (Graphic from the Bermuda Weather Service)

Hurricane Epsilon has reached Category 1 strength as it continues to drift towards the island.

A Tropical Strom Watch is in effect, but as of 9am the centre of the storm was forecast to past just over 200 miles to the island’s east.

Forecasts by the Bermuda Weather Service predicted the storm’s closest point of approach to Bermuda will be about 204 miles to the east at 11pm tomorrow night.

But the BWS warned that Epsilon could move closer to the island after that.

The storm was already said to be “a potential threat to Bermuda” and a Tropical Storm Watch was issued earlier.

Forecasters warned wet weather, strong winds and rough seas should be expected.

Gale or tropical storm winds could begin late tonight.

James Dodgson, of the BWS, said winds were expected to be strong to gale or tropical storm force later tomorrow, particularly across the marine area and in exposed parts of the island.

Mr Dodgson said seas will “continue to build very rough to high, becoming hazardous across exposed island shoreline” and with dangerous surf and rip currents.

But forecasters said the very rough to high seas are expected to diminish into Saturday.

Mr Dodgson said “gusts could reach storm force in and around shower activity” with wind speeds higher than 57mph on Thursday night.

Gale or tropical storm force winds are expected to continue through Friday before easing on Saturday as Epsilon moves out of the area.

Weather models suggest the island could get as much as two inches of rain on Friday.

Epsilon was 425 miles east-southeast of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 85mph at 9am today.

The US National Hurricane Centre said in its 9am update: “Epsilon has taken a westward jog this morning but is generally moving towards the west-northwest near 14mph

“A west-northwestward motion at a slower forward speed is expected today. A turn towards the northwest is expected tonight, followed by a turn towards the north by Thursday night.

“On the forecast track, the centre of Epsilon is forecast to make its closest approach to Bermuda Thursday afternoon or evening.”

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extend up to 25 miles from the centre of the storm, while tropical storm-force winds have been recorded up to 435 miles from the centre.

Renee Ming, the Minister of National Security, said the Emergency Measures Organisation would meet today and tomorrow to get the latest information on the storm.

Ms Ming said: "Hurricane season concludes on November 30, and as we can see, we continue to experience an active storm season.

“At this stage, I am advising residents to check their emergency and storm supplies and replenish their provisions if needed.

“This includes non-perishable goods, batteries, water and the relevant health and safety PPE equipment.”

She added that she would update the public about the Government’s plans for the storm after today’s meeting.

Ms Ming said: “Tropical Storm Epsilon is a reminder for Bermuda that with six weeks left in this hurricane season, we cannot become complacent.

“It’s important that all residents take the appropriate steps to ensure that they are storm ready.”

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Published October 21, 2020 at 10:04 am (Updated October 21, 2020 at 10:04 am)

Epsilon reaches hurricane strength

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