Bermuda is bracing for impacts from Hurricane Nicole, which will lash the islands with high winds and flooding rain on Wednesday night into Thursday.
Nicole, currently a Category 2 hurricane will continue on a north-northwest track before turning to the northeast toward Bermuda by Wednesday night.
Bermuda's Minister for National Security, Jeffrey Baron, warned residents that they "cannot be complacent with this storm," in a statement on Tuesday.
Seas will build on Wednesday as the storm approaches from the south. Conditions will then rapidly deteriorate as Nicole takes aim at the islands on Wednesday night.
"The worst conditions are expected Wednesday night into Thursday as Nicole makes its closest pass to the islands," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Randy Adkins.
Rain, wind and surf will build as the center of Nicole passes directly over or dangerously close to Bermuda.
A track directly over or several miles to the west of Bermuda would bring the most severe impacts to the islands. The highest winds and greatest storm surge occur on the northeastern side of a northward moving hurricane.
AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski expects a widespread 4 to 8 inches of rain, with locally higher amounts possible. Urban flooding can result.
Wind gusts near or exceeding 100 mph (160 km/h) can result in widespread power outages. Loose items should be secured to prevent them from becoming projectiles.
Nicole is forecast to accelerate as it moves toward Bermuda, which will limit the amount of time that the highest waves pound the coast. Still, beach erosion and coastal flooding will be possible.
"A storm surge of 3-5 feet and rough waves will bring high-water levels to south- and east-coastal areas Wednesday night and over other coastal areas during Thursday," Kottlowski stated.
All cruise, fishing and freight interests should monitor the track of Nicole and review routes accordingly.
In a ministerial statement issued by the Bermuda Minister of National Security, Sen. the Hon. Jeffrey C. Baron, JP, urged Bermudans not to be complacent with this storm.
Government schools will close at noon on Wednesday, local time, and will remain closed through Friday, while government offices will close at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, remaining closed through Thursday.
"Out of an abundance of caution, the EMO is strongly advising residents/motorists to stay off the roads as of 10 p.m. tomorrow night until the all clear has been given by the relevant emergency agencies," Baron said in the statement.
The Causeway, which connects the mainland and Bermuda International Airport on St. David's Island, will close throughout the entire storm.
Conditions are forecast to improve as Nicole moves away from Bermuda into the North Atlantic on Thursday night into Friday.
Elsewhere, there are currently no imminent tropical threats in the Atlantic Basin.
Still, all interests in the Caribbean and along the U.S. Gulf and East coasts should continue to monitor the tropics over the coming weeks.
The Atlantic hurricane season does not officially end until Nov. 30.