San Juan, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- The island of Bermuda is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Paulette, which is expected to make its closest approach the Atlantic archipelago around 6 am on Monday.
The Bermuda Weather Service reported Sunday that there is a hurricane warning in effect for the territory, where winds of hurricane force (at least 74 miles per hour) are expected to begin lashing the zone on Sunday night.
Paulette will pass close to Bermuda on Monday morning before turning northeast and moving away later in the day.
Troy Anderson, a scientist with the Bermuda Weather Service, said that Paulette is expected to become a dangerous hurricane as it approaches the archipelago, a British Overseas Territory, before moving away on Monday and Tuesday.
He said that the storm is expected to bring winds of up to 90 mph to the island grouping, along with heavy rains and potentially deadly storm surge.
Anderson also said that authorities expect Paulette to continue to intensify and for its effects to last for 24 hours in Bermuda.
He forecast that the center of the storm will pass within 25 miles of Bermuda at closest approach.
Bermuda Prime Minister David Burt took to the social networks to warn that Paulette is already a hurricane, urging the public to take the necessary protective and precautionary measures.
The head of the Bermuda Weather Service, Mark Guishard, said that if the forecast is correct the storm should strike the island grouping as a Category 2 hurricane.
The Bermuda government closed all public schools for Monday and Tuesday, while the LF Wade International Airport near the capital of Hamilton is also closed but is expected to resume operations at midday on Tuesday.
The local public bus service will not be in operation and government buildings will be closed on both Monday and Tuesday.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center reported in its 8 am bulletin that the center of the storm was located at latitude 29.6 north, longitude 61.4 west.
Paulette is moving to the west-northwest at a speed of 14 mph, and continued movement in that direction, or possibly shifting more to the northwest, is expected during the night.
A US Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft reported that the maximum sustained winds within the storm have increased to about 80 mph, with stronger gusts.
The hurricane-force winds extend out from the storm’s center for 25 miles and the tropical storm-force winds extend outwards for up to 195 miles.
Bermuda is the most heavily populated of Britain’s Overseas Territories with more than 71,000 residents, as of July 2018, and it is located approximately 643 miles east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.