Tropical Storm Karl passes near Bermuda, turns northeast

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — Tropical Storm Karl passed southeast of Bermuda early Saturday and lashed the island with powerful winds and squalls before turning toward the north Atlantic.

No major damage was reported as the Bermuda Weather Service discontinued its hurricane watch and Karl began moving away from the island. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said some strengthening was expected over the next couple of days as Karl moved on a track toward the open Atlantic Ocean, where the storm is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday.

Still, the center said tropical storm conditions were expected to continue in Bermuda through part of Saturday, with total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches over the island during the rest of the day. Life-threatening swells and rip current conditions are expected to increase in Bermuda in the next few days even as the storm pulls away.

Conditions had started to deteriorate in Bermuda on Friday, with heavy surf pounding the shore. The approaching storm prompted businesses and schools to close early while the government of the British territory urged people to stay off the roads during the night and into the early morning. Bermuda is accustomed to storms and some hotels planned to host hurricane parties.

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship was in port in Hamilton on Friday but left hours earlier than planned to avoid the storm.

The Department of Airport Operations said that both scheduled American Airlines flights into Bermuda Friday evening and outbound Saturday morning had been cancelled, but the carrier’s flights on Saturday afternoon would operate normally.

Karl’s maximum sustained winds Saturday morning were near 65 mph (100 kph) and tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center.

As of 10 a.m. EDT Saturday, Karl was centered about 125 miles (205 kilometers) east-northeast of Bermuda and moving northeast at 18 mph (30 kph).