Bill Joins the Big Boys as a Category 4 Hurricane

August 19, 2009

The most recent bulletin (5:00 am AST) from Miami’s National Hurricane Center warns that Bill has strengthened markedly, and is now a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The NHC said the storm’s center was located about 460 miles, 740 kms, east of the Leeward Islands, still far away from land. “Bill is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph, 26 km/hr and a gradual turn toward the northwest is expected during the next
24 to 48 hours,” said the bulletin. “On this track the core of this dangerous hurricane will be passing well to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands late today and early Thursday.”

Bill’s maximum sustained winds are near now 135 mph, 215 km/hr, with higher gusts. The NHC indicated that “some additional strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours.”

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles, 75 kms, from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles, 280 kms. The storm’s estimated minimum central pressure has dropped to 948 mb, 27.99 inches.

The NHC warned that “large swells associated with Bill will be impacting the islands of the northeast Caribbean Sea during the next day or two. Large swells associated with Bill should also begin to affect Bermuda and portions of the southeastern coast of the United States Friday and Saturday.

According to the NHC’s 5-day tracking forecast, Bill will come very close to Bermuda, but, unless it continues on a more westerly course, the hurricane’s center would not hit the U.S. mainland.

Risk Management Solutions issued a preliminary bulletin indicating that “forecasts suggest Bill will continue to turn northwest over the next 72 hours, after which it will begin to take a more northerly track. There is complete agreement between all forecast models that Bill is likely to veer away from the U.S., and remain over the open waters of the Atlantic over the next 5 days. Most of the models suggest that Bill will remain to the west of Bermuda, however there is a chance that Bermuda will be impacted in 4-5 days time if the track shifts any further east.”

Sources: National Hurricane Center – and Risk Management Solutions –

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