MIAMI, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Fay swept past Bermuda drenching the British territory in the Atlantic with winds gusting to hurricane force, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.
The storm, just below Category 1 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kph), was located 85 miles (140 km) north north-east of Bermuda on Sunday morning, the Miami-based center said.
A hurricane watch was still in effect for Bermuda, it warned, noting that tropical storm force winds extended 175 miles (280 km) from the center of Fay. Bermuda reported sustained winds of 61 mph (98 kph) and a wind gust of 82 mph (132 kph) as the center of Fay moved by the island, the hurricane center reported.
There were no immediate reports of major damage on the island which has strict building codes and is well prepared for storms that sweep across the Atlantic during the June-through-November hurricane season.
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.
So far the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has been relatively 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 David Adams, editing by David Evans)
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