Hurricane Earl, which is heading towards Bermuda, is expected to strengthen and bring dangerous surf and current conditions to the east coast of the United States later this week.

Earl, the second of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, experienced maximum sustained winds of 100mph Wednesday night, making it a Category 2 storm.

Thursday was expected to continue to strengthen and become a “great hurricane”, a Category 3, which has sustained winds of 111-129mph and can cause devastating damage.

“Although downtown Earl is expected to pass southeast of Bermuda, tropical storm winds are expected on the island from this afternoon through early Friday morning,” said the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Hurricane winds are possible in Bermuda later today or tonight if Earl’s course moves further west than currently expected, the Miami meteorologist said.

“Earl’s generated waves are forming near Bermuda and should reach the east coast of the United States later today,” the NHC added.

“These waves are likely to cause life-threatening waves and tear current conditions over the weekend.”

A hurricane watch was issued for Bermuda, an autonomous British overseas territory in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

The island’s national security minister, Michael Weeks, told reporters that public services and government offices will continue to operate, but warned residents to prepare for tropical storm conditions.

“Bermuda will definitely feel the effects of Earl, so we have to guard against complacency,” he said.

Further east, Hurricane Danielle was slowly weakening in open waters about 605 miles north-northwest of the Azores. It had maximum sustained winds of 75mph.

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