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Hurricane Franklin gains strength, takes aim at Bermuda – US NHC

Hurricane Franklin gains strength, takes aim at Bermuda – US NHC
A handout image taken aboard the International Space Station and made available by the European Space Agency shows Hurricane Ida churning in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of its landfall in Louisiana, US, 29 August 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE / EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY)

Aug 27 (Reuters) - Hurricane Franklin is forecast to become the Atlantic's first major hurricane of the season on Monday and is on track to pass close to Bermuda on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Sunday.

At around 5 p.m. Eastern time (9 p.m. GMT), Franklin was about 535 miles (855 km) southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds nearing 100 mph (155 kph), the Miami-based center said in an advisory.

“Additional strengthening is forecast, and Franklin is forecast to become a major hurricane on Monday,” the advisory said.

A tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of above 110 mph (177 kph) or higher is considered a major hurricane.

Franklin is expected turn away from the U.S. eastern seaboard in the early part of the week but pass near the island of Bermuda on Wednesday, an NHC map shows.

The NHC said swells generated by Franklin were expected to begin affecting Bermuda on Sunday night.

“These swells are also likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions through the beginning of this week along portions of the east coast of the United States,” it said in the advisory.

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, is expected to have 18 named tropical storms, nine of which become hurricanes, four of them major, according to forecasters from Colorado State University.

A separate storm, Idalia, is expected to become a hurricane and could cause a life-threatening storm surge and flooding from heavy rains along parts of Florida’s west coast and the Panhandle as early as Tuesday, according to the NHC.

(Reporting by Simon LewisEditing by Chris Reese)

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