Update: Tropical Storm Philippe to make a direct hit on Bermuda
Tropical Storm Philippe is now expected to make a direct hit on the island, according to the Bermuda Weather Service.
According to the centre’s latest advisory, issued at 6am today, the eye of Philippe will pass within 25 nautical miles — or “directly over the island” — on Friday afternoon.
It is currently located 709 nautical miles south of Bermuda packing tropical storm winds.
The BWS added that its track could change, bringing it even closer to the island.
According to a tracking graphic compiled by the US National Hurricane Centre, Philippe could score a direct hit by 2pm on Friday. Earlier, the closest point of approach was 4pm.
It had been forecast that the storm could strengthen into a category 1 hurricane but the latest BWS tracking map shows it as a tropical storm when it reaches Bermuda.
According to the BWS the latest advisory issued by National Hurricane Centre keeps Philippe as a tropical storm, with winds of 45 kts, then possibly strengthening slightly as a strong tropical storm, with winds of 50 kts, later on Friday after the centre passes Bermuda.
The public is advised that due to the forecast unsettled weather conditions in the coming days, a decision has been made to postpone the Gombey Festival Showcase on Saturday.
The event will now take place on October 21.
The Department of Culture advised that this annual event requires significant resources and infrastructure, which cannot be set up during the anticipated wind and rain, which are expected later this week.
The Gombey Festival remains a highlight on the annual calendar of events and the Department of Culture looks forward to welcoming the community to this free, family-friendly activity on October 21.
A small-craft warning has been issued for Bermuda Wednesday night through Thursday night.
The BWS said: “As Philippe draws closer, the pressure gradient begins to tighten and winds increase where moderate east-north easterly increase moderate to strong overnight Wednesday, lingering through Thursday.
“Seas increase moderate to rough through the period as southeasterly swells associated with Philippe are driven towards the island.”
Public safety officials are advising residents to prepare for some stormy conditions towards the end of the week.
A spokesman for the Ministry of National Security confirmed that Philippe was now considered a threat to Bermuda and was being closely monitored.
Michael Weeks, the Minister of National Security, added: "Bermuda has been fortunate to avoid serious storms so far this hurricane season, but we must not become complacent.
"This is a timely reminder that we must remain prepared and ensure we have the necessary supplies and plans.
“We encourage all residents to stay updated with the latest information from the Bermuda Weather Service and be ready to take action if the storm evolves into a threat."
The ministry strongly advises residents to monitor the BWS website for up-to-date information.
Liberty of the Seas was scheduled to arrive at Dockyard yesterday, but as the threat of Philippe increased, operators switched destinations, and she sailed north to Halifax instead.