World

Tropical Storm Fay prompts hurricane watch in Bermuda

Bermuda could see hurricane conditions as early as Saturday night as Tropical Storm Fay bears down on the British territory in the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

The storm is just below Category 1 hurricane strength

This NOAA satellite image taken Friday shows a storm just to the south of Bermuda causing thunderstorms to spin up in the Atlantic Ocean basin. (Weather Underground/Associated Press)

Bermuda could see hurricane conditions as early as Saturday night as Tropical Storm Fay bears down on the British territory in the Atlantic, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.

The storm, just below Category 1 hurricane strength with maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h, was located 315 km south of Bermuda on Saturday afternoon, the Miami-based centre said.

"A hurricane watch is in effect for Bermuda," it warned, adding: "The centre of Fay is expected to pass just to the southeast of Bermuda early Sunday morning. However ... only a slight deviation to the west of the forecast track would bring the centre and the core of strongest winds over Bermuda."

On the current track Bermuda had a high chance of seeing tropical storm-force winds of 63 km/h or more, according to the hurricane centre.

Inactive Atlantic hurricane season 

An affluent island and global reinsurance centre located 1,030 km off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Bermuda is home to some 65,000 people. The island has strict building codes and is well prepared for storms that sweep across the Atlantic during the June-through-November hurricane season.

So far the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season has been largely inactive and Fay was only the sixth named storm of the year. In August forecasters downgraded their outlook for the season, predicting below-normal activity with seven to 12 named storms, and no more than two reaching major hurricane status.

A major hurricane is considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 178 km/h.

Below-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean are making it difficult for larger storms to develop, the forecasters say.

Fay's formation came just over a month later than the typical date for the season's sixth named storm, according to Jeff Masters, a hurricane expert with private forecaster Weather Underground.

now