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Tropical Storm Warning in Effect for Bermuda Ahead of Hurricane Epsilon

Hurricane Epsilon nearing Bermuda
National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Epsilon nearing Bermuda

Update 5PM AST Wednesday

Epsilon was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane late Wednesday afternoon. This is the fourth major tropical cyclone (Cat. 3 - 5) of the 2020 hurricane season.

The center of Epsilon was located 340 miles east-southeast of Bermuda Wednesday evening with maximum sustained wind speeds of 115 mph. Forward speed has decreased over the last 24-hours with the storm tracking to the northwest at 10 mph.

Epsilon is expected to shift towards the north-northwest by Thursday and make its closest approach to Bermuda where a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect. The National Hurricane Center says that small fluctuations in intensity are possible Wednesday night and into Thursday morning with the storm gradually weakening beginning Thursday.

Epsilon is a large storm with hurricane-force winds extending outwards up to 25 miles from the center, with tropical storm-force winds spreading further, up to 450 miles. Gusty winds and hazardous coastal conditions are expected begining late Wednesday and through Thursday for parts of Bermuda. 

Update 2PM AST Wednesday

Hurricane #Epsilon rapidly intensified into a category 2 storm Wednesday afternoon, and the National Hurricane Center says it could become a major hurricane by tonight. Tropical storm conditions are expected on Bermuda beginning later today and continuing intermittently through late Thursday, when Epsilon is forecast to make its closest approach east of the island. 

Update 11AM AST Wednesday

Epsilon is now a Category 1 hurricane and continuing to strengthen in the central Atlantic. The large system was located about 405 miles east-southeast of Bermuda as of Wednesday morning with maximum sustained wind speeds near 90 mph. Epsilon continues to pose no immediate threat to the United States but could bring some effects to the island of Bermuda beginning late Wednesday.

A slow west-northwestward track is expected Wednesday with a shift to the northwest anticipated overnight into Thursday, followed by a turn towards the north Thursday night. The center of Epsilon is forecast to make its closest approach to Bermuda Thursday afternoon while maintaining hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bermuda where conditions are expected to deteriorate beginning Wednesday night and through late Thursday. Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected across Bermuda with these effects extending southward towards the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Leeward Islands. The National Hurricane Center says that these hazardous coastal conditions could occur along the east coast and through Atlantic Canada over the next few days as Epsilon continues to track northward. 

Update 11AM EDT Monday

Tropical Storm Epsilon has formed in the central Atlantic, 735 miles to the southeast of Bermuda. Epsilon is near stationary and will continue to be slow moving through Monday night. A slow west-northwest motion should begin on Tuesday which will contine through midweek. 

The National Hurricane Center is expecting the storm to be at or near hurricane strength as it approaches the island of Bermuda late this week. While it is too soon to determine Epsilon's track and intensity near the island, there is a risk for high winds, storm surge, and excessive rainfall. Interestes there should monitor the progression of Epsilon this week. 

This is the second time on record that the Greek alphabet letter has been used. The last time Epsilon was used was in the historic 2005 Hurricane Season where the storm formed over a month later on November 29. 

Update 9AM EDT Monday

Tropical Depression 27 formed early Monday morning about 720 miles southeast of Bermuda. 

The depression does not pose any risk to the east coast of the United States, for now. A blocking high pressure to the north of the system is preventing it from traveling northward into the open Atlantic. Instead it is expected to meander in the vicinity over the next few days. However, there is expected to be some coastal impacts due to the strong high pressure to the north and Tropical Depression 27. Large swells will push westward towards the coastlines leading to high surf and dangerous rip currents this week. These coastal hazards could extend as far south as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Onshore winds from the depression could exacerbate the King Tides which have been peaking since Saturday along parts of the Southeast coast. Coastal flooding may continue across shorelines through early this week, especially if the depression intensifies offshore. The Monday morning forecast from the National Hurricane Center strengthens the depression into a tropical storm later Monday and into a hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday. 

Additionally, the National Hurricane Center said there is a slight chance of tropical cyclone development in the western Caribbean late this week. A broad area of low pressure may develop in the next two to five days to the south of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Forecasters Monday morning have given this area a low chance of development over the next few days. It is too soon to determine if this system will pose a threat to Florida or the U.S. East Coast.  

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Athena Masson
Ray Hawthorne