MIAMI, Florida (CMC) – A tropical storm watch has been issued for Bermuda as Hurricane Franklin, the first major storm of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season, intensified into a Category four hurricane on Monday.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its latest bulletin at 11.00 am (local time) said that the hurricane is packing sustained maximum winds of 145 miles per hour (mph) and was about 480 miles southwest of Bermuda and 440 miles north of Grand Turk island.
The Meteorological Service of Bermuda has issued a tropical storm watch for the country, meaning that tropical storm conditions are possible within the area, generally within 48 hours.
According to the NHC, the centre of Hurricane Franklin was located near latitude 27.8 North, longitude 71.0 West and that Franklin is moving toward the north near nine mph.
“This northward to north-northeastward motion with a slightly faster forward speed is expected during the next few days. On the forecast track, the centre of Franklin is expected to pass well west of Bermuda on Wednesday,” the NHc said.
It said based on data from the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft, maximum sustained winds have increased to near 145 mph with higher gusts.
“Franklin is a category four hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional strengthening is possible today, but gradual weakening is expected to begin later Tuesday,” the NHC said.
It said swells, life-threatening surf and rip currents generated by Franklin are beginning to affect Bermuda and the Southeast United States and are expected to spread northward along the east coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada, during the next couple of days.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Franklin has forced a cruise ship to cancel its scheduled visit to the island this week.
Carnival Magic was due to arrive at Dockyard on Tuesday for a two night stay. But passengers were notified before the vessel left port that the destination had been switched to the Bahamas.
“Our fleet operations centre is actively monitoring Hurricane Franklin, now located in the Atlantic. Due to the projected path of the storm, we must modify the itinerary for your cruise. Regrettably, we will not be able to visit Bermuda,” according to an email sent to passengers.