Felix Getting Stronger, Roaring Toward Bermuda Flossie, Gabrielle Dump Rain On Southwest, Eastern Mexico

Felix, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in two years, intensified Saturday and headed for Bermuda, where forecasters warned it could cause serious damage beginning Sunday night.

Felix’s top winds grew to 125 mph, and its eye was winding tighter, to a compact 18 miles wide - a sign of further strengthening, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Flossie spawned storms that raked the Southwest with hail, rain and 76 mph winds, knocking out electricity around Tucson, Ariz., and causing flash floods that killed a motorist. Flossie weakened into to a tropical storm Saturday as it moved farther out to sea.

Tropical Storm Gabrielle, meanwhile, dissipated Saturday after dumping more than 2 feet of rain along Mexico’s Gulf Coast, forcing evacuations and filling near-empty reservoirs to almost half of their capacity.

At 5 p.m. EDT, Felix was about 550 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, moving northwest at about 14 mph on a path that would probably carry the eye 30 miles west of the island at 5 p.m. Monday.

Forecaster Lixon Avila cautioned that hurricanes are unpredictable and that the center’s predictions could be off by as much as 100 miles to the east or west when the eye passes Bermuda.

Still, hurricane-force winds of 75 mph and above extended up to 40 miles from the eye of Felix, so even a near-miss could cause significant damage on the island, which could get ocean swells and tropical storm-force winds by late Sunday night.

Gavin Shorto, the British colony’s information officer, said a hurricane watch was in effect, and residents were securing their boats and buying supplies.

Also, a Tuesday referendum on whether to declare independence from Britain may be postponed, he said.

Tags: weather

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