Sep 8, 2012 / 7:51 pm
Tropical Storm Leslie moved slowly northward Saturday after pausing to spin in place over the Atlantic, and forecasters expected it to strengthen into a hurricane again before passing to the east of Bermuda.
The latest forecasts pointed to the storm going by about 200 miles (320 kilometres) east-southeast of the British territory Sunday afternoon or evening as a Category 1 hurricane, the Bermuda Weather Service said.
"Bermuda seems to have escaped the worst of Tropical Storm Leslie," said Wayne Perinchief, the national security minister. "However, we should by no means let our guard down as we are still expecting strong winds and rain as well as dangerous ocean conditions overnight and well into Sunday. "
The government said that unless the storm's track changed, it now would keep the airport open, although major airlines already cancelled flights. Officials also called off plans to open an emergency shelter but said the facility would remain in a state of readiness in case it was needed. Schools are scheduled to open on Tuesday.
Bermuda, a wealthy offshore financial haven and tourist destination, has strong building codes and is accustomed to storms, and many people on the island followed Leslie without fear.
"I have taken precautions," said Gareth Kerr, 29. "The windows have the shutters across and I got supplies such as water and tinned food. If the weather is bad tomorrow I'll just sit indoors."
Still, there was the chance of some flooding, said James Dodgson, a meteorological forecaster for the Bermuda Weather Service. Dodgson said the storm surge was likely to be relatively small at one or two feet but the surge coupled with high tide Sunday could cause some minor flooding in low-lying areas.
"I urge the public to remain cautious," Perinchief said.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that by Saturday evening Leslie still had top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), below the hurricane threshold of 74 mph (120 kph).
Leslie was about 220 miles (355 kilometres) southeast of Bermuda and was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph). The U.S. centre said Leslie would likely strengthen into a hurricane by Sunday and was expected to begin gradually increasing its forward speed.
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