Sept. 18 — Humberto reached Category 3 major hurricane strength on Tuesday night as it tracked closer to Bermuda. The powerful hurricane is expected to skirt just north of the islands with rain, wind and pounding seas.
As of 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Humberto was located about 75 miles north of Bermuda and moving east-northeast at 20 mph with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph with higher gusts. A hurricane warning is in effect for Bermuda.
The hurricane is expected to turn fully to the northeast into Thursday.
This turn to the northeast is likely to spare Bermuda from a direct strike.
However, even with the hurricane’s glancing blow to the islands, rounds of heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds will ramp up into early Thursday, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
At 12:30 p.m. local time, Bermuda officials announced at a press conference that most public services would be closing early Wednesday afternoon.
“Storm force winds are expected to pick up and we would now like to advise the public that they are to be off the road by 5 p.m. today,” Minister of National Security Wayne Caines.
Caines added that public schools and government offices were closed at noon Wednesday.
The famous Causeway, a strip of land and bridges connecting the main island to St. David’s Island, will also be closed at 6 p.m. today, Caines said. The Bermuda L. F. Wade International Airport will close at 3 p.m. today and all flights due to arrive after that time will be canceled.
The National Hurricane Center said a prolonged period of dangerous winds is expected on Bermuda from late Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning with hurricane-force winds expected overnight.
According to the Royal Gazette, Bermuda’s Governor, John Rankin, issued an order for 120 members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment to be on standby in preparation for the storm.
Schools and offices were closed Wednesday and schools are expected to stay closed Thursday.
The last major hurricane to strike Bermuda was Nicole in 2016.
Swells will build, and rip currents will become stronger and more frequent than usual through Wednesday as Humberto tracks closer to the islands.
There will be an increased danger for beach, fishing and cruise activities in the area during this time. Small craft operators and swimmers should heed all advisories as they are given.
On Humberto’s closest approach to Bermuda Wednesday night, may maintain Category 3 major hurricane status or be a high-end Category 2 hurricane.
Humberto may pass between 60 miles to 100 miles northwest of Bermuda on its closest approach.
Residents should be prepared for sustained winds to 60 mph along with gusts to 75 mph.
Early Wednesday, Humberto passed over NOAA buoy on its journey towards Bermuda. A wave height of 32 feet was reported along with a wind gust of 94 mph.
Bermuda’s building codes require dwellings to withstand sustained wind speeds of 110 mph, which is the equivalent of a high-end Category 2 hurricane.
A majority of properties are made of stone and mortar. As a result, structural damage is likely to be minimal with Humberto, even if its center passes very close to Bermuda. For this reason, the AccuWeather RealImpact Scale for Humberto on Bermuda is less than one.
However, Humberto’s strong winds can toss around loose items like toys and cause them to become potentially deadly projectiles around midweek. Power outages will also be possible.
While Humberto is expected to pick up speed on its closest approach to Bermuda, too much rain may fall too quickly and result in urban flooding. AccuWeather meteorologists expect a general 2 inches to 4 inches of rainfall across the islands.
A waterspout cannot be ruled out.
Conditions are forecast to dramatically improve across the islands later Thursday into Friday as Humberto tracks farther to the north and northeast.
AccuWeather meteorologists will be monitoring any potential impacts from Humberto in Atlantic Canada during the upcoming weekend. However, at this point, the risk of the storm directly impacting the area is low.
As Humberto cruises the western Atlantic, swells propagating outward from the hurricane will produce rough surf and strong rip currents along the East Coast of the United States.