Hurricane Bill Headed for Leeward Islands, Bermuda, US Coast
Hurricane Bill has gained momentum and become a Category 4 storm, the same category as Hurricane Ike, the most destructive storm of that strength in recorded history. The highest strength a cyclone can attain is category 5, with winds exceeding 155 mph. It is the first tropical storm of the 2009 hurricane season (June -November) , and is traveling at around 135 mph. According to nydailynews.com, the storm may get even stronger.
The storm was 460 miles east of the Leeward Islands this morning and is expected to pass them later today or on Thursday. Areas bracing for impact include the eastern coasts of the USA and Canada, and especially Bermuda, where the storm is scheduled to pass through in the next 3 or 4 days. The storm is also scheduled to pass 600 miles east of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands later today, starnewsonline reports. The hurricane is nearly 300 miles wide and originated on the western coast of Africa as a tropical wave on August 12 that, moving west-northwestward across the Atlantic, has become a tropical storm.
Category 4 hurricanes tend to produce more extensive curtainwall failures, with some complete roof structural failure on small residences. Heavy, irreparable damage and near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are common. Mobile and manufactured homes are leveled. These storms cause extensive beach erosion, while terrain may be flooded far inland.
However alarming, weathers experts do not expect the US coast to face the worst of the hurricane, although rough waters are likely throughout the weekend.
It also could move directly between Bermuda and the eastern coast of the US without making landfall.
Either way, people near the coast can expect wave swells and rip currents in the next few days.` said Todd Kimberlain, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center.
It is too early to say whether the storm seriously threatens the Canadian Maritimes, where it is expected to pass on Sunday night or Monday morning. By the time it makes its way to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia it will have used up most of its energy and dwindled down to a Category 1 or 2 storm, according to ctv.ca. However, significant rain and winds are expected in these parts early next week.