Nicole strengthens into Category 4 Hurricane, on path to hit Bermuda

Wind and surf picks up as Hurricane Nicole approaches the Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve in St. Georges, Bermuda, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Wind and rain began battering Bermuda as the British territory braced itself for Hurricane Nicole, which could become a major Category 3 storm before it hits the island on Thursday morning. (AP Photo/Mark Tatem)

MIAMI (AP) – The Latest on Hurricane Nicole (all times local):

11 p.m. – Forecasters say an “extremely dangerous” Hurricane Nicole has strengthened into a Category 4 storm headed for Bermuda.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says hurricane hunter aircraft show that Nicole’s maximum sustained winds have increased to 130 mph (215 kph). The storm is about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda and is moving north-northeast at 12 mph (19 kph).

Little change in strength is expected overnight. Forecasters expect Nicole to pick up speed and pass near or over Bermuda on Thursday.

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8 p.m. – Forecasters say Hurricane Nicole has strengthened into a Category 3 storm with winds of 115 mph (185 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Nicole was about 210 miles (335 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda on Wednesday evening and was moving north-northeast at 10 mph (17 kph).

Forecasters expect Nicole to pick up speed and pass near or over Bermuda on Thursday. A hurricane warning has been issued for the island.

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10 a.m. – Authorities in Bermuda are closing schools and government offices as the British territory prepares for a direct hit from Hurricane Nicole.

The Category 2 storm is expected to strengthen a bit before striking the island on Thursday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Nicole was located about 320 miles (520 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda on Wednesday morning. It had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph) and was moving north-northwest at 5 mph (7 kph).

American Airlines and Air Canada are among several that have canceled flights to the island.

Bermuda has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to storms.

 

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