Bermuda Prepares for Hurricane Rafael
Hurricane Rafael is expected to unleash heavy winds and rain as it passes east of Bermuda late Tuesday en route to open sea, where it is expected to lose strength.
The storm is a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85 mph (140 kph). It was located 195 miles (315 kilometers) south of Bermuda early Tuesday afternoon, moving north-northeast at 37km/h (23 mph).
Bermuda Weather Service director Kimberley Zuill said wind gusts at the island’s highest peaks could reach up to 110 km/h (75 mph) and warned of flooding across the territory.
“We have already been under the effects of Rafael this morning as the first rain band swept across the area bringing rainfall to much of the island,” she said. “Fortunately, Rafael’s strongest winds remain on the eastern side of the system and furthest away from Bermuda.”
Seas around the island’s outer reefs are expected to surge to 5 meters (18 feet) late Tuesday, she said.
Public schools and government offices remained open on Tuesday, while at least eight flights were cancelled and several others rescheduled. Most of the local ferry service was suspended as well.
“Rafael is expected to bring storm force winds and rough seas,” he said. “I urge the public to exercise caution and remain indoors.”
The center of Rafael was expected to reach its closest point to Bermuda around 8 p.m. ADT (6 p.m. EST) Tuesday, at more than 161 kilometers (100 miles) to the east-southeast.