A strengthening Hurricane Fiona was moving away from the Turks & Caicos Islands on Wednesday and expected to approach Bermuda late on Thursday after leaving a trail of death and destruction behind.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) based in the American city of Miami said Fiona had strengthened to become a Category 4 storm packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles an hour and was about 720 miles south west of Bermuda.
At least four people were reported killed in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as the hurricane moved across the Lesser Antilles.
A tropical storm watch went into effect for Bermuda, and the NHC said the storm was moving towards the north near eight miles an hour.
“This general motion is expected to continue through this evening,” NHC forecasters said. “A turn towards the north-northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected by Thursday. On the forecast track, the centre of Fiona will continue to move away from the TCI… and approach Bermuda late on Thursday.”
It said that while some strengthening is forecast through Wednesday, there will be some fluctuations in intensity possible late in the day and on Thursday, and gusty winds are likely to continue over portions of the south-eastern Bahamas and TCI.
Bermuda is expected to experience rainfall of up to four inches and the swells generated by Fiona are affecting the northern coast of Hispaniola, TCI, and the south-eastern and central Bahamas.
“These swells will continue to spread westward across the south-western Atlantic toward the north-western Bahamas and the east coast of the United States during the next day or two,” NHC forecasters said. “Swells from Fiona are expected to reach Bermuda by early Thursday. The swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Meanwhile, a tropical wave is producing showers and thunder storms a few hundred miles east of the Windward Islands and could become a tropical depression within the next two or three days, the NHC said.
“Interests in the Windward Islands should closely monitor the movement of this system as heavy rainfall and gusty winds could affect therse islands beginning today,” NHC forecasters said.