Florence intensified on Wednesday to a powerful Category 4 hurricane packing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour as it continued to head towards Bermuda.
Forecasts earlier suggested that Florence – the third hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season but the first major one – would weaken in the next 24 to 48 hours, owing to wind shear.
However, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said the storm is expected to remain a strong hurricane “through early next week”.
At 5 p.m. local time, Florence was 1,295 miles east-southeast of the island, moving northwest at 13 miles per hour.
Its nearest point of approach to Bermuda within the next 72 hours is forecast to be 609 miles to the east-southeast on Saturday.
But the storm is expected to come closer to the island after then.
The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) said it was not considered a threat to Bermuda at this time, but the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) announced it is monitoring its track.
A National Security Ministry spokeswoman said: “While the Bermuda Weather Service notes that the storm’s track will continue to fluctuate as the week progresses, the ministry takes this opportunity to remind the public that Bermuda is in the midst of hurricane season, and encourages the public to use this opportunity to update their storm supply kits. The ministry notes that the EMO is prepared and stands ready to convene should Hurricane Florence’s forecasted track pose a threat to Bermuda.”
A BWS spokesman said Hurricane Florence is expected to weaken slightly over the next 24 hours.
“However, by the end of the long-range forecast, Florence is expected to re-intensify as it tracks across warmer seas and an area of less shear. This complex pattern leads to uncertainty in the track and intensity of Florence beyond five days and although Florence is not a threat to Bermuda at this time, it will need to be monitored.”
Meantime, Gordon, which formed in the Florida Keys, is now a tropical depression as it continues to weaken over central Mississippi.
Forecasters, meanwhile, continue to keep a close watch on a disturbance a couple of hundred miles south-southwest of Cape (Cabo) Verde Islands which has become better organised since Tuesday and has a 70 per cent chance of cyclone formation in the next 48 hours, according to the NHC.