First hurricane of the 2009 season reaches category 2 strength

Hurricane Bill is wheeling towards Bermuda after gathering strength in the mid-Atlantic.

It is expected to become a major hurricane with sustained windspeeds of 110mph on Wednesday (Aug 19) and by late Thursday evening (Aug 20) it is expected to be moving north-west at a position halfway between Bermuda and the West Indies.

Predictions from the US National Hurricane Center say its path will then continue to curve away from the US eastern seaboard towards Bermuda.

However, the centre of the storm is currently projected to miss the island, passing 150 miles to the west.

Dr Peter Dailey, director of atmospheric science at AIR Worldwide, said: “According to satellite imagery, Bill does not yet display an eye, but the core of the storm is showing signs of increasing organization and several well defined bands of heavy thunderstorm activity are present.

“With a minimum central pressure of 977 mb and maximum sustained winds of about 90 mph, Bill’s radius of hurricane force winds extend 30 miles from its center, and tropical storm force winds extend 145 miles.”