Humberto strengthens to Category 2 hurricane, approaches Bermuda

Humberto has strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane and is likely to intensify further as it approaches Bermuda by Wednesday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said on Tuesday.

As of Tuesday morning, the Atlantic hurricane was located about 900 kilometres west of Bermuda, packing maximum sustained winds of 160 km/h, the NHC said.

The NHC warned that Bermuda could be hit with tropical storm force winds and up to three inches of rain by Wednesday, and was at risk of life-threatening waves and tides.

The centre of the hurricane is expected to approach the archipelago Wednesday night, the weather agency said, and current tracks show it side-swiping Bermuda’s west coast Thursday.

After gaining hurricane strength late Sunday, Humberto dropped another five centimetres of rain on the storm-ravaged northwestern Bahamas as it churned away from the U.S. coast, forecasters said.

Humberto is expected to send life-threatening waves and tides to parts of the U.S. east coast from Central Florida to North Carolina, and dangerous conditions will remain for the next few days, the NHC said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Lorena formed off Mexico’s Pacific Coast, where forecasters predicted heavy rains and flooding by Thursday, likely without reaching hurricane force, the weather agency said. 

Lorena had top winds of 65 km/h Tuesday and was centred about 475 kilometres south-southeast of Zihuatanejo, moving northwest at 24 kp/h, NHC reported Tuesday morning. 

Tropical Depression Ten also formed in the Atlantic, and could become a hurricane Friday as it nears the outermost Caribbean islands.