Storm-force winds batter Bermuda ahead of Hurricane Nicole

MIAMI, Oct. 12 (UPI) — Hurricane conditions began in parts of Bermuda early Thursday as Hurricane Nicole, packing 130-mph winds, makes its approach to the archipelago as a strong Category 4 storm.

The storm, located less than 100 miles southwest of Bermuda, is expected to turn to the northeast and increase in forward speed Thursday with hurricane-force winds extending about 65 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds up to 175 miles from the center. Already, Bermuda International Airport reported sustained winds of 43 mph with gusts up to 62 mph. Forecasters warned the storm is “extremely dangerous.”

The storm will bring a 6- to 8-foot storm surge with “large and destructive waves” and a total rainfall of up to 8 inches. Isolated tornadoes are also expected.

“Swells associated with Nicole will affect Bermuda during the next few days, and will spread northward along the United States east coast from the Carolinas northward,” the National Hurricane Center said. “These swells will create dangerous surf conditions and rip currents.”

Premier Michael Dunkley warned Bermuda residents and visitors to be alert to the storm. He said forecasters are “a bit uncertain as to its strength.”

“Hurricanes are fickle in nature. We should prepare for the potential that it may vary from estimates. I would like to assure the people of Bermuda that we have done everything necessary to prepare us, and I would urge calm,” he said. “For now, we should hunker down and get rest. I wouldn’t want people worrying about what it could be. This is when we come together as a people and look after each other.”

After possible landfall in Bermuda, Nicole would most likely head out into the open Atlantic, where it would likely dissipate over cold waters.

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