Hurricane watch in Bermuda ahead of Storm Fay -U.S. Hurricane Center

by Reuters
Saturday, 11 October 2014 22:58 GMT

(Adds detail on expected winds in Bermuda and arrival date of Fay, adds background)

MIAMI, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Bermuda could see hurricane conditions as early as Saturday night as Tropical Storm Fay bears down on the British territory in the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

The storm, just below Category 1 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kph), was located 195 miles (315 km) south of Bermuda on Saturday afternoon, the Miami-based center said.

"A hurricane watch is in effect for Bermuda," it warned, adding: "The center of Fay is expected to pass just to the southeast of Bermuda early Sunday morning. However ... only a slight deviation to the west of the forecast track would bring the center and the core of strongest winds over Bermuda."

On the current track Bermuda had a high chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph (63 kph) or more, according to the hurricane center.

An affluent island and global reinsurance center located 640 miles (1,030 km) off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Bermuda is home to some 65,000 people. The island has strict building codes and is well prepared for storms that sweep across the Atlantic during the June-through-November hurricane season.

So far the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has been largely inactive and Fay was only the sixth named storm of the year. In August forecasters downgraded their outlook for the season, predicting below-normal activity with seven to 12 named storms, and no more than two reaching major hurricane status.

A major hurricane is considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 111 mph (178 kph).

Below-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean are making it difficult for larger storms to develop, the forecasters say.

Fay's formation came just over a month later than the typical date for the season's sixth named storm, according to Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert with private forecaster Weather Underground. (Reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington and David Adams in Miami; Editing by David Gregorio and Diane Craft)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.