Hurricane conditions were expected to reach Bermuda on Thursday night as Fiona, the strongest storm so far of the Atlantic hurricane season, churned north toward the island.
As of 5 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, Hurricane Fiona, a Category 4 storm, was 485 miles southwest of Bermuda and moving north-northeast at 13 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 130 m.p.h.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Bermuda, which was expected to receive two to four inches of rain.
Fiona’s center was expected to approach Nova Scotia on Friday and move across the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Saturday, the center said. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and western Newfoundland could receive three to six inches of rain, with up to 10 inches possible in some areas, the center said.
Officials in Bermuda were preparing for the storm on Wednesday. The government urged residents to make sure they had food, medicine and water on hand, and to secure their homes, property and boats.
Schools, government services and offices will operate on Thursday but not on Friday, Michael Weeks, Bermuda’s minister of national security, said at a news conference on Wednesday, although another assessment was to be made on Thursday. Emergency shelters were to be open.
“Hurricane Fiona is a serious Category 4 storm,” Mr. Weeks said. “Our hurricane seasons in recent years have been getting busier and more active.”
People living in low-lying and coastal areas of Bermuda were said to be vulnerable to dangerous surf and surge conditions. “Stay out of the water,” Mr. Weeks said.
Forecasters did not anticipate that Fiona would threaten the East Coast of the United States.
Fiona, which formed as a tropical storm last Thursday, has battered parts of the Caribbean in the past week, including Puerto Rico, which experienced widespread power outages. As of Thursday morning, more than a million customers in Puerto Rico were without electricity, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks interruptions.
Gov. Pedro R. Pierluisi of Puerto Rico said that it would take at least a week for his government to estimate how much damage Fiona had caused. The rain in parts of central, southern and southeastern Puerto Rico had been “catastrophic,” he said at a news conference.
At least four deaths have been attributed to Fiona: two in the Dominican Republic and one each in Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe, which was struck by the storm on Saturday.
Another weather system in the Atlantic developed into Tropical Storm Gaston on Tuesday, becoming the seventh named storm of the 2022 hurricane season. That storm was 375 miles west-northwest of the Azores in the North Atlantic on Thursday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 65 m.p.h.
Gaston was forecast to begin to weaken over the next few days, the Hurricane Center said, though a tropical storm warning was in effect for parts of the Azores.
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, had a relatively quiet start, with only three named storms before Sept. 1 and none during August, the first time that had happened since 1997. Storm activity picked up in early September with Danielle and Earl, which formed within a day of each other.
The links between hurricanes and climate change have become clearer with each passing year. Data shows that hurricanes have become stronger worldwide over the past four decades. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms — though the overall number of storms may drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep some weaker storms from forming.
Hurricanes are also becoming wetter because there is more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere; storms like Hurricane Harvey in 2017 produced far more rain than they would have without human effects on the climate, scientists have suggested. Also, rising sea levels are contributing to higher storm surges, the most destructive elements of tropical cyclones.
In early August, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an updated forecast for the rest of the season, which still predicted an above-normal level of activity.
In it, they said that the season could include 14 to 20 named storms, with six to 10 turning into hurricanes that could sustain winds of at least 74 m.p.h. Three to five of those could strengthen into what the agency calls major hurricanes — Category 3 or stronger — with winds of at least 111 m.p.h.
Last year, there were 21 named storms, after a record-breaking 30 in 2020. For the past two years, meteorologists have exhausted the list of names used to identify storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, an occurrence that had happened only one other time, in 2005.
The post As Fiona Approaches, Hurricane Conditions Are Expected on Bermuda appeared first on New York Times.Last Update: Thu, 22 Sep 22 05:59:05