7:00 pm Update
The eye of Hurricane Gonzalo is getting set to come over Bermuda. This means the island is within the eye wall of the storm, where the strongest winds are. An elevated weather observation station (unsure of the height above sea level) recently recorded a sustained wind of 98 mph with a gust of 127mph. Sustained winds speeds are the average wind speed over a 2 minute period.
The airport, which is a mere 18 feet above sea level, just recorded a sustained wind of 76mph. The maximum estimated sustained winds are still at 115mph. Given that the darkest reds on the satellite picture are over Bermuda now, I suspect the peak winds in the hurricane are now moving over the island. This is a very dangerous storm and we continue to keep those on Bermuda in our prayers.
3:15 pm Update
Conditions appear to be getting worse quickly on Bermuda. The webcam is still up and running, but it is hard to see much in the wind blown rain. What is visible shows palm trees bending in the wind and huge waves crashing onshore. The worst is still yet to come as the eye wall- the area of strongest winds surrounding the hurricane’s circulation- comes onto the island in a couple hours. It now looks like Bermuda will take a direct hit with the eye very possibly passing directly over the island.
A major weather story is unfolding in the Tropical Atlantic today as Gonzalo, a category three hurricane, bears down on the island nation of Bermuda. This is one of the most intense storms to ever strike Bermuda, especially this late in the season.
Gonzalo is expected to pass just west of Bermuda. Some of the strongest winds from the hurricane will pass over the island today. Having the center of a hurricane pass just west is actually one of the worst places to be, as winds east of the eye of a hurricane are often enhanced by the forward motion of the storm.
The extreme winds will also push a life threatening storm surge onto the southern potion of the island. The storm surge, which is a rise in the ocean level caused by the winds literally pushing the ocean inland, is often the most deadly part of a hurricane.
This link will take you to a live webcam from the northwest part of Bermuda. Already, conditions are looking bad, but the worst should come later this afternoon and tonight. Here is a link to the Bermuda radar.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those on the island in the path of this storm.