MIAMI – Humberto has grown and intensified in the past few hours, becoming a Category 2 hurricane that continues heading toward Bermuda, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.
The hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 155 kph (100 mph) and is moving east-northeast at 13 kph (8 mph), the Miami-based NHC said in its 1500 GMT public advisory.
Humberto is currently located about 845 kilometers (525 miles) west of Bermuda.
Both a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning have been issued for Bermuda.
“On the forecast track, the center of Humberto is expected to pass just to the north of Bermuda Wednesday night ... some strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours, and Humberto could become a major hurricane late tonight or Wednesday morning,” the NHC said.
Forecasters said “Humberto is a large hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).”
Although the large hurricane is not expected to make landfall in Bermuda, forecasters said residents could feel hurricane-force winds on the archipelago.
Hurricane Humberto is also expected to dump heavy rains on Bermuda and create dangerous conditions for marine interests.
“Large swells generated by Humberto will increase along the coast of Bermuda by Wednesday. Dangerous breaking waves, especially along south-facing beaches, will be possible Wednesday night into Thursday, and could cause coastal flooding,” the NHC said.
Hurricane forecasters said “swells will continue to affect the northwestern Bahamas and the southeastern coast of the United States from east-central Florida to North Carolina during the next couple of days. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”
Humberto is the third hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season, which started on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.
On July 13, Hurricane Barry made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 1 storm.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Sept. 1 on Elbow Cay, Bahamas, and later on Great Abaco as a Category 5 storm, the most powerful type of hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The hurricane caused catastrophic damage in the Abacos and on Grand Bahama, home to the popular tourist destination of Freeport.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama to New Providence, the most populous island in the archipelago and where the capital of Nassau is located, following the storm.
Over the weekend, officials said the death toll from Hurricane Dorian had risen from 50 to 52, with more than 1,000 people still listed as missing.
Royal Bahamas Police Force commissioner Anthony Ferguson said Tuesday that search teams had still not been able to comb all of the debris in certain sections of Great Abaco.
The UN estimates that the homes of 70,000 people in the Bahamas were either completely destroyed or seriously damaged by Dorian.
The NHC is monitoring a system in the Atlantic that has a 90 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next 48 hours.
The low-pressure system is located about 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) east of the Lesser Antilles and heading slowly west-northwest.