Hurricane Paulette lashes Bermuda; forecasters increase storm prediction

Hurricane Paulette is lashing Bermuda after making landfall on the island, before strengthening into a Category 2 storm.

The direct hit is an unusual one for the territory which has had fewer than 10 hurricanes do so since the National Hurricane Center began tracking them in the 1850s.

Bermuda had closed schools, government agencies and all its ports ahead of the storm which is located 105 kilometres north of the island and moving at 22 kph late this morning

Much of the island was without power, as hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall are expected to affect it for several hours.

The island’s roughly 70,000 citizens were told to remain inside amid the combined threat of the storm and the coronavirus.

Paulette is expected to increase in strength later this evening as it moves away from Bermuda.

Forecaster now say the Atlantic hurricane season could have up to 25 named storms of which seven to 10 could become hurricanes. Among those hurricanes, three to six will be major, classified as Category 3, 4 and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

That prediction is well above the annual average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.