A major hurricane is threatening the Atlantic archipelago. Although Bermuda is expected to be spared a direct hit, officials are warning people to stay indoors away from heavy winds and possible tornadoes.
Residents of Bermuda were warned to stay off of roads and prepare for strong winds as category 3 Hurricane Humbertopassed close to the British territory on Wednesday
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Humberto's eye was located 160 kilometers (100 miles) west-northwest of Bermuda on Wednesday afternoon, with the storm packing maximum sustained winds of 193 kilometers per hour.
Although forecasts showed the Bermuda could be spared a direct hit, the NHC said hurricane-force winds were expected to hit parts of the island for several hours on Wednesday night and continue until Thursday morning. Dangerous storm surges could cause flooding on the south coast of the main island.
Bermuda's National Disaster Coordinator warned that the storm could unleash tornadoes, and hurricane winds could break power lines, topple trees and damage buildings. Electricity company Belco reported widespread power outages across Bermuda on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday, Bermuda Governor John Rankin called up 120 Royal Bermuda Regiment members in preparation for possible recovery operations.
Authorities also closed schools, clinics and government offices. Flights have been cancelled from Bermuda's international airport and residents of the capital, Hamilton, prepared by covering windows with wooden planks.
Bermuda is located in the Atlantic Ocean around 1,046 kilometers (650 miles) east of the US eastern seaboard. According to the Bermuda Weather Service, the archipelago is a relatively small target for a hurricane, and rarely suffers a direct hit.
The last time Bermuda suffered a hurricane landfall was in 2014, with category 1 Hurricane Fay, and category 3 Hurricane Gonzalo less than a week later. Gonzalo was one of the strongest storms to hit Bermuda since 2003, with an estimated $200-400 million in property damage.
wmr/se (AP, Reuters)