Hurricane Nicole is forecast "to pass near or over Bermuda on Thursday," the National Hurricane Center predicts.
Nicole will bring hurricane-force winds of at least 74 mph, a dangerous storm surge and driving rain to the small island nation beginning late Wednesday or early Thursday, the hurricane center said.
“Nicole is a serious threat to Bermuda, and we cannot afford to have complacency with this storm,” Senator Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, told the Royal Gazette newspaper.
“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of residents securing their homes and completing their preparations well in advance of this storm,” he said.
A number of airlines have cancelled their flights into the island, and ferry and bus services will be suspended, the newspaper reported. Schools and scores of businesses and shops will stay shut until at least Friday.
As of 11 a.m. ET, Nicole had winds of 100 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane. It was located 295 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving to the north at 7 mph.
The most recent hurricane to make landfall in Bermuda was Gonzalo in October 2014, Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach said. He said that since 1950, only four hurricanes have made a direct landfall in Bermuda: Arlene in August 1963, Emily in September 1987, and Fay and Gonzalo in 2014. Gonzalo was the strongest at 110 mph.
Though technically, Hurricane Fabian in 2003 did not make landfall on Bermuda, the eastern eyewall of the Category 3 hurricane did hit Bermuda, resulting in four deaths and $300 million in damages, the WeatherBoy reports.
Michael DeSilva, Commissioner of Police, told the Royal Gazette that the the island has experienced multiple storms in recent years, saying: “Bermuda has had a lot of practice preparing for hurricanes, hunkering down during hurricanes and then cleaning up after."
In the U.S., the only impact from Nicole will likely be hazardous surf conditions along the eastern coast of Florida, the National Weather Service said. Dangerous rip currents and beach erosion are both a concern through the week.