Sunday 24 September 2017

Bermuda braces itself for 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Nicole

Wind and surf pick up as Hurricane Nicole approaches the Coopers Island Nature Reserve in St Georges, Bermuda (AP)
Wind and surf pick up as Hurricane Nicole approaches the Coopers Island Nature Reserve in St Georges, Bermuda (AP)

Josh Ball

Heavy wind and rain are battering Bermuda as the British territory braces itself for Hurricane Nicole, which has strengthened to an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it tracks towards the island in the northern Atlantic Ocean.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said hurricane hunter aircraft show that Nicole's maximum sustained winds have increased to 130mph.

The storm was about 180 miles south-south-west of Bermuda, moving north-north-east at 12mph.

Little change in strength is expected overnight, but forecasters expect Nicole to pick up speed and pass near or over Bermuda on Thursday.

Hurricane Nicole has reformed in the Atlantic after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, Cuba and the US (AP)
Hurricane Nicole has reformed in the Atlantic after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti, Cuba and the US (AP)

Schools and government offices closed as shops and filling stations reported brisk business ahead of the storm, with people buying batteries, matches, alcohol and ready-cooked meals.

Hotels reported a rise in bookings as people sought shelters with power.

While Bermuda has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to storms, government officials urged people to prepare for the hurricane and remain indoors on Thursday, when the storm is expected to hit.

"We have a long night in front of us," premier Michael Dunkley said. "We better be prepared for the onslaught of hurricane force winds, but if we heed the warnings, we will be in a strong position once the storm blows through."

Businesses were largely boarded up by Wednesday night, and dozens of vessels from one marina were already neatly packed away between historical buildings in Mangrove Bay, a popular spot for water activities on Bermuda's north-west tip.

American Airlines and Air Canada were among several carriers that cancelled flights to the island, and several cruise ships also cancelled.

People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Residents stand in a Church after been evacuate prior the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, in Tabarre, Haiti, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
People stand on the coast watching the surf produced by Hurricane Matthew, on the outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica, Monday, Oct. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
People buy goods on the street while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A couple enjoy the view while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. The text reads, "House for sale". REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A general view of Kingston is seen while Hurricane Matthew approaches, in Jamaica October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero
A general view while Hurricane Matthew approaches Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Jailene Albian, 18 (L), takes care of her six month old son together with her cousin Malbel Negrada, 41, in a shelter at the University of Guantanamo ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Matthew in Guantanamo, Cuba, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini
A woman protects herself from rain with an umbrella ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man poses for a picture on a wall next to the sea ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A boy walks along a pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man films the sea with his cell phone next to an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Three people protect themselves from rain with an umbrella as they ride a motorbike ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man takes pictures on an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Two women protect themselves from rain with an umbrella ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
A man takes pictures on an old pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares
Residents are seen along a pier ahead of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, October 3, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

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