Fox News Weather Center

Major Hurricane Gonzalo Takes Aim at Bermuda, Canada

Gonzalo is now a Category 4 hurricane and is on track to threaten lives and property across Bermuda before slamming into Canada.

Gonzalo strengthened Wednesday morning to become the first Category 4 hurricane, with winds of at least 209 kph (130 mph), in the Atlantic Basin since Ophelia in 2011.

While curving away from the Bahamas and the United States, the powerful and dangerous hurricane is following in the footsteps of Fay and targeting Bermuda.

Gonzalo will still be a major hurricane as it makes its closest approach to Bermuda during the first part of Friday. The current forecast track takes Gonzalo just west of Bermuda.

There is concern that Gonzalo could pass close enough to put Bermuda at risk for being pounded in a fashion similar to Major Hurricane Fabian in September 2003.

"As one of the strongest, costliest and the only storm to cause fatalities in Bermuda since the satellite era, the name Fabian was retired [after that hurricane season]," according to the Bermuda Weather Service.

Even if Gonzalo's center narrowly misses the island nation, its track will still put Bermuda "within the full brunt of the hurricane's worst weather," stated Tropical Weather Expert Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.

"Impacts on those islands include damaging hurricane-force winds, torrential rainfall and very rough and dangerous surf," Kottlowski continued.

Residents should be completing necessary precautions before conditions rapidly begin to deteriorate later Thursday night.

The worst of Gonzalo will slam Bermuda during the morning and midday hours of Friday.

Heavy rain totaling 50 to 100 mm (2 to 4 inches) threatens to cause flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.

Bermuda is at risk for strong tropical storm-force winds (88 to 117 kph/55 to 73 mph) with gusts between 130 and 160 kph (80 and 100 mph), threatening to cause damage to structures and power outages. Anyone outside during the brunt of the storm would be at risk for bodily harm by flying objects.

More significant destruction to structures and widespread and lengthy power outages would result if Gonzalo tracks within 50 km (30 miles) or less of Bermuda. Such a track would bring the stronger sustained hurricane-force winds onshore.

As recently as last Saturday night and Sunday morning, torrential rain and damaging winds battered Bermuda as then-Tropical Storm Fay passed by. A peak wind gust to 82 mph was measured.

Conditions will rapidly improve across Bermuda later Friday night as Gonzalo takes aim at Newfoundland, Canada. Canadian Weather Expert Brett Anderson expects Gonzalo to cause widespread power outages, flooding, downed trees and rough surf later Saturday afternoon and evening across Newfoundland.

Gonzalo will reach Newfoundland as a strong tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane.

Even though Gonzalo will be steered away from the United States, the danger of rough surf and rip currents will be present at the East Coast beaches Thursday and Friday with the danger lingering at the Northeast beaches on Saturday.

Gonzalo has already been blamed for the death of an elderly man who was on a boat in St. Maarten's Simpson Bay Lagoon, according to the Associated Press.