Major Hurricane Nicole to unleash destructive winds, flooding rain on Bermuda
By Renee Duff for AccuWeather.com
Bermuda is bracing for life-threatening impacts from Hurricane Nicole, which will lash the islands with destructive winds and flooding rain Wednesday night into Thursday.
Nicole, currently a Category 4 hurricane, will continue on a north-northeast track toward Bermuda into Thursday.
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.
A Category 4 hurricane has sustained winds between 130 and 156 mph (209 and 251 km/h).
Seas will continue to build into Wednesday night as the storm approaches from the south. Conditions will then rapidly deteriorate as Nicole takes aim at the islands on Wednesday night.
"The worst conditions are expected late Wednesday night through early Thursday afternoon as Nicole makes its closest pass to the islands," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Rich Jaworski.
Rain, wind and surf will build as the center of Nicole passes directly over or dangerously close to Bermuda.
A track directly over or several miles to the west of Bermuda would bring the most severe impacts to the islands.
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AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski expects a widespread 4 to 8 inches (100 to 200 mm) of rain, 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 south- and east-coastal areas Wednesday night and over other coastal areas during Thursday," Kottlowski stated.
The storm surge and rough waves will lead to severe beach erosion and significant coastal flooding along the southern-facing coast.
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 as of 10 p.m. [Wednesday] night 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.