Tropical storm Leslie strengthened into the Atlantic season’s sixth hurricane on Wednesday, but meteorologists said the Category 1 storm is expected to give the British Overseas Territory a wide berth.
Leslie was earlier forecast to be northeast of Bermuda and heading southwest, but it is now forecast to do a loop with a northward motion on Wednesday night.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Leslie, packing 80 miles per hour winds with higher gusts, was stationary 510 miles east-southeast of Bermuda in the central Atlantic.
The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) said strong winds, which have been buffeting Bermuda for several days, are forecast to gradually ease by Thursday.
Leslie’s closest point of approach to Bermuda in the next 72 hours is predicted to be 460 miles east of the island on Thursday at 3 00 p.m (local time).
Although the meandering storm is not predicted to threaten the island, rough seas mean a small craft warning remains in effect in Bermuda.
Waves kicked up by the storm are forecast to increase along the southeast US coast over the next few days, and also affect the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles as well as Bermuda.
Those swells could cause dangerous surf and deadly rip currents, the NHC said noting that a turn to the east is expect this weekend following an increase in forward speed.
Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or so, but a slow weakening is expected to begin on Friday, the NHC added.