BY JOE MARIO PEDERSEN
ORLANDO – Hurricane Humberto continues to strengthen as a Category 3 major storm Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. Wednesday update.
A hurricane warning for Bermuda is in effect.
A reconnaissance aircraft reported Wednesday that Humberto’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph. Some fluctuations in intensity are expected over the next 24 hours, the NHC said.
Humberto picked up speed Wednesday, moving at 16 mph with the storm’s core is expected to pass just northeast of Bermuda Wednesday night, the NHC said.
While Humberto’s eye is expected to miss Bermuda, Humberto’s hurricane-force winds extend outward to 60 miles from the center and its tropical-storm-force winds reach up to 175 miles, the NHC said. Forecasters predict between 2 to 4 inches of rain for Bermuda.
Humberto’s eye reportedly passed over a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoy at around 5 a.m. and recorded a sustained wind of 76 mph and wind gust of 90 mph.
Storm surge could raise water levels by 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels for the southeastern coast of Bermuda.
While Humberto is moving away from the United States, the storm’s “life-threatening” swells and rip current conditions will still impact the southeastern coast of the country from Central Florida to North Carolina as well as the northeastern Bahamas, the NHC said.
Meteorologists are keeping track of two other developed systems: the first being now Tropical Depression Imelda, which struck southeast Texas and weakened from a tropical storm. The second is Tropical Storm Jerry in the Atlantic, which is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday night or Friday morning.
A tropical wave also formed Wednesday morning several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, and is producing scattered showers, the NHC showed in its 8 a.m. update. The disturbance is moving toward the Windward Islands and has a 30% chance of tropical development over the next five days, the NHC said.
Also, there’s a tropical wave expected to spawn in the west of the African coast Thursday. The system is expected to move west between 10 and 15 mph with a 10% chance of tropical development over the next five days, the NHC said.