A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda on Wednesday as Hurricane Earl is approaching and forecast to become a major storm.
Earl, the second hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph late Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory, making it a Category 2 storm.
The storm was expected to continue to strengthen and become a “major hurricane,” meaning a Category 3, on Thursday, the center said. Category 3 hurricanes have sustained winds of 111 mph to 129 mph and can cause devastating damage.
A hurricane watch was issued by Bermuda’s weather service, and a tropical storm warning was previously issued and remained in effect.
The center of the hurricane was expected to pass southeast of Bermuda, but tropical-storm-force winds will spread over the island starting Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center said.
Bermuda’s Ministry of National Security said that the storm’s closest approach will be early Friday morning around midnight, when it is expected to be around 99 nautical miles east-southeast of Bermuda.
Residents were told to secure outdoor furniture, have a plan, stock up on medication and ensure their hurricane kits are up to date.
Between 1 and 2 inches of rain is forecast for Bermuda through Friday, according to the hurricane center in the U.S.
Although Earl isn’t expected to threaten the U.S., its swells are expected to reach Bermuda by Wednesday night and the U.S. East Coast shortly thereafter. Such swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions through the weekend, the hurricane center said.
Earl strengthened to a hurricane Tuesday. Its center was about 325 miles south of Bermuda shortly before 2 a.m. Thursday and was moving north at 9 mph, the hurricane center said.
The center said early Thursday that Earl’s wind field was growing in size, with hurricane-force winds extending outward 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds up to 160 miles outward.
The first hurricane of this year's Atlantic season formed Friday with Danielle, which had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph Wednesday and was around 625 miles northwest of the Azores.
It's forecast to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone Thursday, according to the hurricane center. There were no coastal watches or advisories in effect.
It’s the first time since September 2020 that the Atlantic Ocean has had multiple hurricanes simultaneously. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.