AP News

Bermuda on alert as storm likely to skirt island


HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — Tropical Storm Leslie moved slowly northward Saturday after pausing to spin in place over the Atlantic, and forecasters expected it would regain strength and become a hurricane before passing to the east of Bermuda.

The latest forecasts pointed to the storm going by about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east-southeast of the British territory Sunday afternoon or evening as a Category 1 hurricane, the Bermuda Weather Service said.

"It appears that Bermuda will be spared a direct impact," Wayne Perinchief, the national security minister, said Friday. "However, I urge the public to remain cautious as there is the potential for the storm to re-intensify and change track, and we could experience heavy rain and winds in shower bands."

Some businesses closed early Friday and shops were crowded for a second day with people buying emergency supplies. At least one cruise ship canceled a stop in Bermuda and the airport was expected to close.

Bermuda, a wealthy offshore financial haven and tourist destination, has strong building codes and is accustomed to storms.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Leslie had resumed forward movement after staying stationary Thursday night and into Friday. Saturday morning, the storm had top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), below the hurricane threshold of 74 mph (120 kph).

Leslie was about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda and was moving north at 5 mph (7 kph). The U.S. center said it would likely strengthen Saturday and Sunday and was expected to begin gradually increasing its forward speed.

Out in the middle of the Atlantic and considered no threat to land, Hurricane Michael was a category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph). On Thursday, it was briefly the first Category 3 of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Michael was moving north-northwest at 5 mph (7 kph). It was about 925 miles (1,490 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores.


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