Bermuda canceled ferry services and urged islanders to secure their boats as Tropical Storm Shary swirled toward the tiny British Atlantic territory Friday.
The storm had sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) and could gain strength before passing near or just east of the island by early Saturday morning, according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The darkening skies did not dampen the spirits of tourists like Bill and Margaret Breen, a married couple from Boston, who carried rain jackets as they strolled through Hamilton.
“We’re flying home tomorrow afternoon, so the only issue could be the storm affecting the flight. But there would be a lot worse things than to stay another day,” said Bill Breen, 45.
Friday afternoon, Shary’s core was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, according to the hurricane center. It was moving northeast at 16 mph (26 kph).
Derrick Binns, the permanent secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry, called on islanders to tie up their boats and secure any outdoor furniture that could blow away in the wind. He also urged cyclists and motorists to be careful on the roads.
Shary is the 19th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
In late September, Hurricane Igor knocked out power to half of Bermuda when it passed nearby as a Category 1 hurricane. It did not cause any major damage or injuries, however.
Also Friday, Tropical Storm Tomas formed in the Atlantic, and forecasters said it could become a hurricane after passing over the Windward Islands on Saturday.
Grenada sent public workers home early and canceled evening activities including a concert by Jamaican artist Romain Virgo.
The hurricane center said Tomas had strengthened quickly Friday night with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). It was about 170 miles (270 kilometers) southeast of Barbados.
Tropical storm warnings were issued for Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The center said Tomas might become a hurricane by late Saturday.
– AP, NZHerald.co.nz