Power outages are in the thousands as Nicole hits Bermuda. As of 11 am AST, the eye of Hurricane Nicole was 10 miles from Bermuda as a Category 3. Late Wednesday, Nicole strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane. It continues to move northeast at 15 mph. At times, the large eye was nearly 50 miles in diameter. That’s about double the width of Bermuda. Shear is forecast to rapidly increase today, taking Nicole back to a Category 2 by tonight.
A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels in Bermuda. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Nicole is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 8 inches over Bermuda through this evening. Isolated tornadoes are not out of the question.
The Bermuda Department of Parks would like to advise the general public to stay clear of the ocean and only view it from a very safe distance as the storm surge expected could pose a threat to bystanders positioned too close to the surf. Red ‘high surf’ warning signs were erected by early morning today from Mangrove Bay through to and including John Smith’s Bay within the National Park System. The decision was made to shut down the Horseshoe Beach to swimming and cease Lifeguarding Services as of 11am this morning.
The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, and the Bermuda Zoological Society will be closed on Thursday, 13th October, with plans to reopen on Friday, 14th October pending storm damage to the facility.
The Government would also like to remind the public that if you need to get gas for your vehicle, to please be mindful that gas stations were closed early Wednesday evening.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently on the way to investigate Nicole to provide more information on its intensity. Continue to follow WeatherNationTV.com for the latest Hurricane Nicole updates.