Major Hurricane Nicole to make rare, dangerous strike on Bermuda

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By Renee Duff for

Major Hurricane Nicole will continue to lash Bermuda with destructive winds and flooding rain through Thursday.

Nicole, currently a Category 3 hurricane, made landfall over the southern part of Bermuda shortly before 11 a.m. local time. The entire eye of the hurricane will pass over the islands.

A Category 3 hurricane has sustained winds between 111 and 130 mph (179 and 209 km/h).

Related: 15 deadliest American hurricanes

15 of the deadliest American hurricanes ever
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15 of the deadliest American hurricanes ever

Hurricane Hugo, 1989: 21 deaths

Hurricane Hugo made landfall as a Category 4 storm in South Carolina. It caused 21 deaths in the US and resulted in $7.1 billion of damage. At the time, it was the costliest storm in US history.

Photo courtesy: Getty

Tropical Storm Allison, 2001: 41 deaths

While not an official hurricane, Allison clocks in as the costliest and deadliest tropical storm in US history, causing 41 deaths and costing more than $5 billion in damage. The storm started over the Gulf of Mexico near Texas, then traveled east, causing floods like the one pictured here in Houston, Texas.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Irene, 2011: 56 deaths

Hurricane Irene, the first storm to hit the US since Ike three years earlier, made landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 storm. The storm eventually made its way up to New York City, bringing flooding -- like the kind pictured here in Puerto Rico -- and causing $7.3 billion in damage overall.

Photo courtesy: AP

Hurricane Floyd, 1999: 57 deaths

Hurricane Floyd was a catastrophic storm because of the rain it brought along. The rain caused extreme flooding from North Carolina on up as the Category 2 storm traveled up the East Coast.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Great Atlantic Hurricane, 1944: 64 deaths

The Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 was also devastating to New England, with 64 deaths and more than $100 million in damage. The storm was a Category 3 as it sped up the coast, hitting the Carolinas, Rhode Island, and Long Island before downgrading to a Category 2 in Maine.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Agnes, 1972: 122 deaths

Hurricane Agnes, as seen in this image made it all the way inland to Pennsylvania. Although it was only a Category 1 storm (with winds from 74-95 mph), it still caused 122 deaths and caused $2.1 billion in damage.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Ike, 2008: 195 deaths

The third costliest storm in US history, with $29.5 billion in damage, occurred in September 2008. Starting off the west coast of Africa, Hurricane Ike made its way over the Caribbean and into the Gulf, making US landfall in Texas as a Category 2 storm

Photo courtesy: Reuters

Hurricane Camille, 1969: 256 deaths

Hurricane Camille formed in the Gulf of Mexico and hit Mississippi as a Category 5 storm. Camille caused more than 256 deaths and clocks in as the second most intense hurricane to hit the US.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

New England, 1938: 256 deaths

Nicknamed "Long Island Express," the storm hit Puerto Rico as a Category 5 storm before charging north and hitting Long Island, New York and Connecticut as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm was responsible for more than 256 deaths.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Hurricane Sandy, 2012: 285 deaths

With $71.4 billion in damage, Hurricane Sandy was the second costliest hurricane in US history. The Category 1 storm pummeled New York City, flooding the city's transportation systems and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.

It's looking more and more like Hurricane Joaquin won't make landfall in the US and join the list of most horrific storms in US history.

Photo courtesy: AP

Hurricane Audrey, 1957: 416 deaths

The U.S. started naming storms with women's names starting in 1953. Hurricane Audrey, the first storm of the 1957 hurricane season was the deadliest of the 1950s. It originated in the Gulf of Mexico, making landfall in Texas as a Category 4 storm. This image of the storm shows just how far hurricane imaging has come.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Atlantic-Gulf, 1919: 600 to 900 deaths

This Category 4 storm swept into the Gulf of Mexico right under Key West, Florida(pictured), landing as a Category 3 storm in Corpus Christi, Texas. Anywhere from 600 to 900 people died in that storm.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005: 1,200 deaths

Hurricane Katrina is arguably the most notorious storm of the 21st century. The storm made landfall as a Category 5 near Miami before striking Louisiana as a Category 3 storm. Katrina was the third deadliest, and costliest hurricane in U.S. history with more than 1,200 deaths and $108 billion in damage.

Photo courtesy: Reuters

San Felipe Okeechobee, 1928: 2,500 deaths

This hurricane was the second deadliest in US history, with more than 2,500 deaths. The Category 4 storm made landfall in Palm Beach on September 10, 1928. Puerto Rico got hit hard as well, with winds at 144 mph.

Photo courtesy: NOAA

Galveston, Texas in 1900: 8,000 to 12,000 deaths

The deadliest hurricane in US history happened at the turn of the 20th century. The Category 4 of 5 hurricane -- with winds anywhere from 130-156 mph -- made landfall in Galveston, Texas (pictured), then headed north through the Great Plains. Anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 people died in the storm.

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons


During Wednesday night, Nicole attained Category 4 status. This became the first time that two Category 4 hurricanes occurred in the Atlantic basin during October. Matthew was a Category 4 hurricane but also reached Category 5 status earlier this month in the Caribbean.

While Bermuda is often affected by hurricanes each year, major hurricanes rarely pass close to the islands. According to the National Hurricane Center, only seven major hurricanes have passed within 40 nautical miles of Bermuda since records began in 1851.

Bermuda's Minister of National Security, Sen. the Hon. Jeffrey C. Baron, JP, urged Bermudians not to be complacent with this storm, according to aministerial statement on Tuesday.

Bermuda is home to about 65,000 people.

"The worst conditions are expected to last through early Thursday afternoon as Nicole makes its closest pass to the islands," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Rich Jaworski.

The northeastern quadrant, which is the most powerful and potentially most destructive part of the hurricane, will affected Bermuda during Thursday morning.

A gust to 122 mph (196 km/h) occurred on a platform at Commissioner's Point, Bermuda, during Thursday morning.

As of 11 a.m., Bermuda Electric Light Company reported that approximately 21,000 customers had lost power.

AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski expects a widespread 4 to 8 inches (100 to 200 mm) of rain across the islands, with locally higher amounts possible. Urban flooding will result.

Wind gusts near or exceeding 120 mph (193 km/h) can result in widespread power outages. Loose items should be secured to prevent them from becoming projectiles.

"A storm surge of 6-10 feet (2-3 meters) and rough waves will bring high-water levels to coastal areas through Thursday," Kottlowski stated.

The storm surge and rough waves will lead to severe beach erosion and significant coastal flooding along the southern-facing coast.

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Government schools closed at noon on Wednesday, local time, and will remain closed through Friday, while government offices closed at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday and will also remain closed through Thursday.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the EMO is strongly advising residents/motorists to stay off the roads until the all clear has been given by the relevant emergency agencies," Baron said in the statement.

The Causeway, which connects the mainland and Bermuda International Airport on St. David's Island, will close throughout the entire storm.

Conditions are forecast to improve as Nicole moves away from Bermuda into the North Atlantic on Thursday night into Friday.

Elsewhere, there are currently no imminent tropical threats in the Atlantic Basin.

Still, all interests in the Caribbean and along the U.S. Gulf and East coasts should continue to monitor the tropics over the coming weeks.

The Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30.

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