Hurricane Joaquin barrels down on Bermuda

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Hurricane Joaquin is barreling down on Bermuda as the weekend comes to an end, posing hazards to residents and vacationers.

Despite undergoing some weakening and no longer near Category 5 hurricane status, Joaquin is a Category 2 hurricane as it tracks northeastward through the western Atlantic Ocean.

Such a track will spare the United States of a direct hit, though historic flooding has still unfolded in South Carolina. Joaquin, on the other hand, will come within 120 km (75 miles) of Bermuda Sunday evening.

Rain and wind will pound the island nation into Sunday night with the heaviest rain and strongest winds expected through the first part of the night. Rain totals will average 50 to 100 mm (2 to 4 inches), which may lead to some flash flooding.

"Wind gusts of 95 to 130 kph (60 to 80 mph) may cause sporadic power outages on the island," AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee said.

Minor damage to structures may also ensue. Additional damage or bodily harm can result from any trees or limbs that get knocked down by the winds.

"In addition, a storm surge of 30 to 90 cm (1 to 3 feet) to locally as much as 2 meters (6 feet) may cause some flooding issues in coastal sections of the island," added Vallee. That is especially true on the eastern coast.

The weather will improve across Bermuda on Monday as Joaquin departs away to the northeast, heading into the open waters of the northern Atlantic and posing hazards to only shipping interests.

Joaquin will transition to a non-tropical system by midweek and will be monitored by AccuWeather meteorologists for any potential impacts on the British Isles late in the week.