Hurricane Bill to regain strength, Bermuda readies

Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:53pm EDT
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By Ruth O'Kelly-Lynch

HAMILTON (Reuters) - Hurricane Bill charged across the Atlantic on Thursday and was expected to regain power as it headed northwest on a track that will take it between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast en route to eastern Canada.

Bermuda, a 20 square mile (53 sq km) British territory that is a center for the global insurance industry, issued a tropical storm warning as residents prepared for high winds and heavy seas when Bill passes west of the island on Saturday.

Canada's East Coast oil producers were also monitoring Bill's forecast path which is expected to take the currently Category 3 hurricane over Nova Scotia and Newfoundland on Sunday and Monday.

There was no threat from Bill to U.S. oil facilities.

After weakening earlier to Category 3, Bill revved up on Thursday as it passed over warmer waters and its maximum sustained winds were close to 125 miles per hour (205 km per hour), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

"Bill is expected to reach Category 4 status again within the next 12 to 36 hours," the Miami-based center added.

At 5 p.m. EDT (2100 GMT) the eye of the hurricane was located about 595 miles south of Bermuda and 1,080 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

"The core of Hurricane Bill is expected to pass over open waters between Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States early Saturday," the NHC said.   Continued...

<p>Hurricane Bill is pictured moving in the Altantic Ocean in a satellite image taken August 19, 2009. REUTERS/NOAA/Handout</p>