Hurricane conditions are expected to begin on Bermuda Thursday morning as Nicole appears likely to make a direct hit as a strong Category 3 hurricane Thursday afternoon with deadly flooding and maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, Associated Press reported.
Nicole's outer bands had already begun to sweep over the island Wednesday morning and afternoon, bringing gusty winds up to 40 mph and showers.
The National Hurricane Center reported at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday that Nicole had strengthened during the day to a major Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph and higher gusts. The storm is 210 miles south-southwest of Bermuda, moving north-northeast at 10 mph. Hurricane force winds extend out 45 miles, while tropical storm-force winds extend outward 160 miles from Nicole's center.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Bermuda. Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin on the island Wednesday night and hurricane conditions are expected to begin Thursday morning.
Storm surge is forecast to be as high as 6 to 8 feet above normal tide. Fortunately, the island will be roughly at low tide at the storm's peak. Large, destructive waves are expected to begin soon.
Rain accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are forecast through Thursday.
After possible landfall in Bermuda, Nicole would most likely head out into the open Atlantic, where it would likely dissipate over cold waters.