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'Large' Hurricane Igor moves in on Bermuda

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Igor termed a large and dangerous hurricane
  • Residents in Bermuda are bracing for a direct hit
  • Conditions are expected to deteriorate Saturday
  • The storm is projected to pass over the island late Sunday or early Monday

Editor's Note: Are you in Hurricane Igor's path? We want to hear from you.Share your photos and video with CNN iReport, but please stay safe.

(CNN) -- Bermuda, which hasn't seen a major hurricane in some seven years, is about to get walloped by Igor, which forecasters termed large and dangerous Saturday night.

The eye of the Category 2 storm may pass just to the west of the Atlantic Ocean island late Sunday, sharply increasing the likelihood of damaging winds, forecasters said.

Such a landfall would spare Bermuda "the worst of the storm surge, but will inflict some of the highest wind speeds ... on the island," said CNN meteorologist Angela Fritz.

"A direct hit would be the worst-case scenario, because the island would have to endure the extremely strong winds in the eyewall, as well as a dangerously high storm surge," said added.

The hurricane is currently going through an "eyewall replacement cycle," and, during this time, accurately forecasting its track becomes more difficult, said Fritz.

A new eye begins to develop around the old eye of a hurricane during the replacement cycle.

"Fortunately, the forecast is that Igor will not strengthen more before approaching Bermuda. It is expected to maintain Category 2 status," Fritz added.

Video: Conditions worsen in Bermuda
Gallery: Bermuda braces for Hurricane Igor

Conditions on the island were deteriorating late Saturday ahead of Igor's expected passover late Sunday or early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical storm-force winds extend 345 miles (555 kilometers) from Igor's center. "The winds are definitely a concern," said CNN weather producer Judson Jones.

"Igor is expected to remain a dangerous hurricane as it approaches Bermuda," the Hurricane Center said. "Igor is a very large hurricane."

As of 11 p.m. EST Saturday, Igor was about 285 miles (455 km) south of Bermuda, packing sustained winds of about 100 mph (160 kph) as it headed north-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph). Hurricane-force winds extended up to 90 miles (150km) from the center.

The storm could also produce as much as 9 inches of rainfall over the island, according to the Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Fabian hit Bermuda in 2003, killing at least four people. It came ashore with 120 mph (193 kph) winds.

Large waves generated by the storm were already pounding beaches Saturday afternoon, said CNN iReporter Michael Branco.

"A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding on Bermuda," the Hurricane Center said. "The surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, especially along the southern coast."

The weather agency said swells will affect the East Coast of the United States, Puerto Rico, the Leeward Islands, Hispanola and parts of the Bahamas over the weekend.

"These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents," the Hurricane Center said.

Branco, a native Bermudian, spent Saturday morning putting up storm blinds on his windows and securing his pets inside the house. On Friday, he stocked up on bottled water, canned food and batteries.

He said that despite riding a number of storms out on the island, "this one has my attention thus I am taking it very seriously."

Branco said he's most worried about potential damage to the roof of his home, which faces the island's southern shore -- the frontline for the approaching Igor's northerly track.

"Our roofs, which we use to catch our drinking water, can sometimes be vulnerable to high winds and pressure changes, so fingers crossed our roof is OK," he said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Julia continued to diminish Saturday farther east in the Atlantic.

As of 11 p.m. EST, Julia's maximum sustained winds were at 50 mph (85 kph), the Hurricane Center said. No coastal warnings or watches were in effect from Julia, and the storm is forecast to become a remnant low by early Monday, according to the hurricane center.