World News

Bermuda prepares as Florence strengthens

(AP) Residents of Bermuda installed storm shutters and hauled their yachts onto beaches in preparation for Tropical Storm Florence, which intensified Saturday and could become a hurricane as it approaches the North Atlantic island.

Florence, which could become a hurricane as it moves over the open Atlantic on Sunday, was expected to reach the tiny British territory Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. But it was too early to tell whether it will make a direct hit.

"It's probably not going to become a hurricane tonight, but it could become a hurricane tomorrow," said Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the center. It could be a Category 2 hurricane, which has winds of 96 to 110 mph, he said.

Bermuda issued a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning, and the government urged its 65,000 residents to take precautions. Part of Bermuda's volunteer army has been mobilized.

"We are asking residents to please stay home. We are urging the public's cooperation so that emergency vehicles will have free passage on the roads," Derrick Burgess, minister of public safety, said at a news conference. "Also, we are discouraging the public from sightseeing as this puts everyone at risk."

He also encouraged the public to stock up on hurricane supplies and secure their homes, lawn furniture and any other loose items which could be affected by high winds.

In boatyards and marinas in Bermuda a wealthy island chain 640 miles east of the U.S. coast boat owners dragged their yachts onto beaches or secured their moorings.

 

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