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America's Cup - Hurricane Nicole intensifies will hit Cup bases today

by Richard Gladwell, on 13 Oct 2016
- Bermuda - Hurricane Nicole - October 13, 2016 showing winds of 60 knots - but they are expected to be double that strength when the hurricane hits Bermuda PredictWind
Hurricane Nicole which until a couple of days ago was just another tropical storm, has intensified unexpectedly as she makes a final approach to Bermuda.

The hurricane which has now been upgraded to a Category 4 on a scale of 5, is due to hit Bermuda just after noon, local time. At 10.30am the wind was increasing rapidly and was gusting 75kts for a time at Spanish Point YC.

Forecasters are hopeful that Nicole will abate a little before she passes over the island 650nm from the US coastline in the Atlantic Ocean, however that prediction was modified to be timed after she had passed Bermuda.

The latest update at 0900 UTC from the US based National Hurricane Centre described Nicole as 'an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane'.

Hurricane Matthew which caused devastation last week in the Caribbean and US was rated as a Category 4 for a time before being downgraded to a Category 3 and then 2 with an 11ft storm surge.

As Bermuda braces for Hurricane Nicole this week, the teams are not leaving anything to chance. SoftBank Team Japan's diver Sam Bennett talks us through what the team does to prepare their base for the storm ahead. #safetyfirst #bestsailors #HurricaneNicole

Posted by America's Cup on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Three America's Cup teams have bases and boats in Bermuda including Oracle Team USA which has just taken delivery of their AC50 on the island. A fourth, Land Rover BAR (GBR) have a base partially under construction.

The latest advisory reads:

At 500 AM AST (0900 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Nicole was located near latitude 31.1 North, longitude 65.8 West. Nicole is moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected later today. On the forecast track, the core of Nicole will pass near Bermuda later this morning.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts. Nicole is an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Although a gradual weakening is forecast, Nicole is expected to be at major hurricane strength when it moves near Bermuda later today.

Nicole is a large tropical cyclone. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 65 miles (100 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). Bermuda International Airport has recently reported sustained winds of 43 mph (69 km/h) with a gust to 62 mph (100 km/h).

The latest minimum central pressure reported by an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is 952 mb (28.12 inches).

Hazards affecting land

WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected to begin on Bermuda in a few hours. Tropical storm conditions are already occurring on the island.

STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 6 to 8 feet above normal tide levels in Bermuda. The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

RAINFALL: Nicole is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 5 to 8 inches over Bermuda through this evening.

SURF: Swells associated with Nicole will affect Bermuda during the next few days, and will spread northward along the United States east coast from the Carolinas northward through the next few days.

These swells will create dangerous surf conditions and rip currents.

TORNADOES: Isolated tornadoes are possible on Bermuda today. 2014Predictwind - IridiumPredictwind - Iridium