Wednesday, August 19, 2009
MIAMI – Hurricane Bill became a Category 4 storm as it rumbled across the Atlantic early Wednesday with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph.
And forecasters say the dangerous hurricane could get even stronger.
The National Hurricane Center said people in the Leeward Islands should monitor Bill's progress, though the core of the storm was expected to pass well to the northeast of the islands late Wednesday and early Thursday.
"The wind sheer is light and the waters are warm," Todd Kimberlain, a forecaster at the center, said Tuesday. "Those are two essential ingredients not just for the formation, but also the maintenance, of hurricanes."
Early Wednesday, Bill was centered about 460 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving west-northwest near 16 mph.
The most significant threat could be to Bermuda, which the storm could pass in three or four days, Kimberlain said. But it also could move directly between Bermuda and the eastern coast of the U.S. without making landfall.
Either way, people near the coast can expect wave swells and rip currents in the next few days, Kimberlain said.