Forecast track for Hurricane Katia issued at 6am Wednesday. *Bermuda Weather Service image
Forecast track for Hurricane Katia issued at 6am Wednesday. *Bermuda Weather Service image
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 10AM UPDATE: Hurricane Katia is set to bring occasional gale-force gusts today and tomorrow, according to the Bermuda Weather Service.

The storm – now listed as a Category 1 hurricane - is expected to be 242 nautical miles west of the island by Thursday morning as it continues to move northwest and a Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect.

Government was also taking precautions – with swimming banned at Horseshoe Bay from noon on Tuesday due to rough seas and the St George’s ferry service suspended until further notice.

A Government spokesman said: “Residents and guests on the island are encouraged to stay out of and well away from the water on the South Shore.”

The Ministry of Public Works is also continuing to monitor conditions on the Causeway and if sustained winds of more than 50km/h hit the link between St George and the rest of the island, closure will be considered.

 Katia was this morning 269 nautical miles south-southwest of Bermuda and moving northwest at 9 knots and is now a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 80km/h and gusts of up to 100km/h.

It is forecast to move further away from Bermuda by Friday afternoon and remain a Category 1 storm.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6: The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) advised that as of the 11:30 am forecast Bermuda is now under Tropical Storm Watch.

After consultation with the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), the BWS has issued a Tropical Storm Watch for Bermuda and the surrounding Marine Area due to the NHC forecast for Hurricane Katia.

A Tropical Storm Watch means that sustained winds of 34 to 63 knots will possibly affect Bermuda (including the marine area extending out 25 nautical miles), within 48 hours, associated with a tropical cyclone or subtropical cyclone.

The track of Katia puts Bermuda in a “Potential Threat Criteria”, defined as “the tropical cyclone center is expected to pass within 400 nautical miles of Bermuda within the next 72 hours”.

Southeast swells are currently impacting the South Shore beaches, and there is still some potential that we will see tropical Storm force winds of at least 34 knots. This is likely for the western marine area, as Katia begins to re-curve. However, the probability for 50 knot winds is less than 1% chance, as of the last advisory.

The Ministry of Public Works will continue to monitor the causeway. In the event sustained wind speeds exceed 50 knots, the Ministry will consider closure of the causeway in the interest of public safety. The public will be kept abreast throughout.

Due to the large swells impacting South Shore beaches, as of 12 p.m. today lifeguards at Horseshoe Bay erected the red flag signaling that no one is to enter the water. The swells and rip currents present on the beach are now extremely dangerous.

Residents and guests of the island are encouraged to stay out and well away from the water along the south shore.

The Department of Marine and Ports has also advised that the St. George’s ferry has been suspended until further notice due to the inclement weather we are currently experiencing.

As a reminder BWS is the official source of watches, warnings and forecasts for Bermuda and the NHC have jurisdiction for forecasting the official track of tropical systems within the North Atlantic & Caribbean region.