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Bermuda Braces For A Direct Hit From Gonzalo

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Bermuda Braces For A Direct Hit From Gonzalo, People on the tiny British territory of Bermuda rushed Thursday to batten down for Hurricane Gonzalo, which was roaring toward them as a major Category 4 storm just days after a tropical storm damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines.

Gonzalo had top sustained winds of 145 mph (230 kph) and was centered about 460 miles (740 kilometers) south-southwest of Bermuda. It was moving north at 7 mph (11 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Tropical storm conditions are expected late Thursday, and forecasters said Gonzalo’s center will be near Bermuda Friday afternoon and evening. The Bermuda Weather Service said Gonzalo would likely pass within 29 miles (46 kilometers) of the island Friday night as a Category 3 storm, close enough to be considered a direct hit.

“This is a very serious event,” Dave Fox, a public affairs officer for the Bermuda government, said in a phone interview.

The last major hurricane to strike Bermuda was Fabian in 2003, a Category 3 storm that killed four people. The last major hurricane to cross land in the Atlantic Basin was Hurricane Sandy in 2012, a Category 3 storm that hit Cuba.

Fox said the government opened a high school as a shelter, but that he expected most people to stay home.

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