When Hurricane Felix brushed past Bermuda last week, it downed trees and power lines and swept fishing boats out to sea. Now, officials warn, it may be coming back.
"He's not welcome," said Christine Barritt, 33, who operates a small guest house near the capital, Hamilton. "I'm just finishing cleaning up from the first hit."Bermuda posted a tropical storm watch early Saturday because of the hurricane's uncertain course. The government warned residents to prepare for its possible return.
Around midday, winds were gusting up to 35 mph in Bermuda. They were expected to strengthen by Sunday as Felix approaches, said meteorologist George Parks.
The storm itself was weakening. Jerry Gallup, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said Felix would pass over cooler water and lose strength by Sunday.
At 8 p.m. EDT, the center was about 250 miles northwest of Bermuda.
It was moving south-southeast at 2 mph with winds of 80 mph. Once winds drop below 70 mph, it will be downgraded to a tropical storm.
The announcement of Felix's possible return prompted Delta Air Lines to cancel flights to Bermuda on Saturday. American Airlines canceled one flight from New York. USAir canceled flights from Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; and Baltimore.
Felix passed within 70 miles of Bermuda late Monday and early Tuesday, packing 80 mph winds. Residents and tourists awoke to downed trees and power lines, but little serious damage.
Some fishing boats were lost, and a few hotels on Bermuda's vulnerable south shore were damaged. A referendum on whether to break ties with Britain was delayed by one day to Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, about 20,000 people on the island chain were without electricity. By Saturday, fewer than 100 remained without power, said Linda Smith, a spokeswoman for the Bermuda Electric Light Company.
After passing Bermuda, Felix moved toward the United States, prompting hurricane warnings and beach closings along the East Coast before it turned back into the Atlantic Ocean.
As Hurricane Felix headed away from land, a tropical wave between Jamaica and the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea was moving westward at 10 mph. The system was expected to develop into a tropical depression by Sunday.