HAMILTON, Sep 19 – Residents of the tiny British archipelago of Bermuda battened down the hatches as Hurricane Humberto, a major category 3 storm packing fierce winds and punishing rain, brushed near the islands Wednesday evening.
The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center (NHC) put the center of the storm about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Bermuda at 9 pm local time (0000 GMT), with maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour.
The core of the large storm was expected to pass to the north of Bermuda late Wednesday or overnight, dumping as much as six inches (15 centimeters) of rain. A heightened storm surge is possible.
“Hurricane Humberto is a threat,” the Bermuda Weather Service said in an earlier advisory.
The latest NHC advisory said up to three inches had already been reported on parts of the island by Wednesday evening. In the afternoon, residents were securing their outdoor furniture and some boarded up their windows. Grocery stores and offices closed early.
The government had advised citizens to be off the roads “until the all clear is given tomorrow.” It opened an emergency shelter at Cedarbridge Academy, Bermuda’s largest high school.
But officials said they were not expecting the worst.
“We’re not expecting major damage. This hurricane is brushing us,” Steve Cosham, Bermuda’s disaster coordinator, said, according to The Royal Gazette newspaper.
“There could be some areas that are more impacted than others.”
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through November 30, has ramped up in recent weeks. Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, killing at least 52 people, with hundreds more still unaccounted for.
Tropical Storm Jerry has formed in the ocean and is expected to become a hurricane on Thursday. So far, it is not threatening any coastal areas.