A Hurricane Warning is now in effect for the local area, with word from the Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) this morning that “the recent forecast track of Major Hurricane Fiona has shifted closer to Bermuda while the wind field has expanded”.
According to the latest forecast posted at 5:30am: “Fiona is still expected to pass our near west Thursday night through Friday morning, but now over a longer period of time.
“Rain bands will sweep over us at times; swells and hazardous seas become dangerous. Winds rapidly increase Thursday night and reach Hurricane Force early on Friday morning.”
Today’s forecast calls for overcast skies with rain and the chance of thunder. Winds will be out of the southeast increasing to gale force by this evening, “then veering south-southeasterly gale force to storm force before likely becoming storm force with gusts to hurricane force late night”.
Winds are expected to increase to hurricane force after midnight “with gusts to hurricane force in heavier showers embedded within rain bands.”
As of 11pm last night Hurricane Fiona was roughly 550 miles southwest of Bermuda and 1,315 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) advisory, the Category 4 storm is moving north near 10 mph with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph with higher gusts. It’s expected to pick up speed once it turns to the north-northeast or northeast through Friday.
Fiona is a massive system, with hurricane-force winds extending 70 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extending 205 miles.
The forecast shows Fiona approaching Bermuda late Thursday as a Cat 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph – the minimum sustained wind speed needed to be considered a Category 4.
“Fiona is expected to affect portions of Atlantic Canada as a powerful hurricane-force cyclone late Friday and Saturday, and significant impacts from high winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall are becoming increasingly likely,” the hurricane center said.
“Interests in these areas should closely monitor the progress of Fiona and updates to the forecast.”
Bermuda is expected to feel tropical storm conditions, and possibly hurricane conditions, by Thursday evening and Friday morning, according to the hurricane center.
Bermuda could see two to four inches of rain, while Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and western Newfoundland are looking at a possible three to six inches, with some areas possibly seeing up to 10 inches.
This rainfall could cause significant flooding.
“A storm surge will cause elevated water levels along the coast of Bermuda in areas of onshore winds beginning Thursday night,” the hurricane center said.
“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.”
Swells from Fiona are expected to reach Bermuda today.
“The swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” said the NHC.