A weakening Hurricane Epsilon made its closest approach to Bermuda on Thursday, delivering a glancing blow to the island nation.
As Hurricane Hunters punched through Epsilon’s eyewall, they found themselves under a blue sky.
A weakening Hurricane Epsilon was moving past Bermuda on Thursday night after delivering a glancing blow to the island nation with tropical-storm-force winds.
The Bermuda Weather Service canceled a tropical storm warning late Thursday night as Epsilon spun 190 miles east of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. A Category 1 storm, Epsilon was moving north-northwest at 9 mph.
“A general northward motion is expected through early Saturday with a faster motion toward the northeast later that day,” the Hurricane Center said. “The center of Epsilon will continue to pass well east of Bermuda tonight.”
On Wednesday, Epsilon had gained 50 mph in wind speed in just 24 hours to become a major Category 3, 115-mph hurricane, officially qualifying as a rapidly intensifying storm.
It was the seventh storm of the 2020 season to power up this quickly, forecasters said.
Over the past couple decades, meteorologists have been increasingly worried about storms that blow up from nothing to a whopper, just like Epsilon. Forecasters created an official threshold for this dangerous rapid intensification – a storm gaining 35 mph in wind speed in just 24 hours.
In Bermuda, damage and adverse impacts from Epsilon will likely be isolated, but some downed tree limbs and power lines as well as localized street and poor drainage flooding will remain possible, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Rob Miller said.
Epsilon’s impacts are also forecast to reach beyond Bermuda: The storm will bring “dangerous and potentially life-threatening surf and rip currents” along the the East Coast of the U.S. and Atlantic Canada during the next couple of days, the Hurricane Center warned.
Elsewhere, forecasters were also watching a potential tropical system in the western Caribbean, one that has a 30% chance of development within the next five days.
Hurricane Center specialist Robbie Berg said in an early Thursday forecast that the area of low pressure was unlikely to organize over the next couple of days as it passes near Cuba and moves over the Florida Straits.
But late this weekend or early next week, some slow development is possible while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas.
If something develops, it would be named Zeta.
Regardless if it gets a name or not, it may bring more rain to an already waterlogged South Florida that remains on a flood watch through at least Thursday night.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Kimberly Miller, The Palm Beach Post