Bermuda wary, but calm as storm likely to pass by
Tropical Storm Leslie swirled northward in the Atlantic late Saturday toward Bermuda, and forecasters said it might strengthen into a hurricane again while passing to the east of this wealthy British territory.
Forecasts pointed to the storm following a track about 200 miles (320 kilometers) east-southeast of the British territory Sunday afternoon or evening, 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 course changed, the airport would remain open, although major airlines already canceled 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.
Bermuda, a financial haven and tourist destination, has strong building codes and is accustomed to storms, and many people on the island were not worried by Leslie.
"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 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 late Saturday, the storm was maintaining top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), below the hurricane threshold of 74 mph (120 kph).
Leslie was about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda and was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph). The U.S. center said some strengthening was expected and Leslie could regain hurricane strength Sunday or Sunday night.
"We expect the weather to go downhill later today with strong gusty winds," said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. center.
The total amount of rainfall could reach two inches or more, he said.
Out in the middle of the Atlantic and considered no threat to land, Hurricane Michael remained a category 2 storm but slowed a bit to maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph). On Thursday, it was briefly the first Category 3 of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Michael was moving north-northwest at 6 mph (9 kph). It was about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores.