Hurricane Ophelia Strengthens to Category 2

MIAMI (AP) — Forecasters say Hurricane Ophelia is rapidly gaining strength and is expected to pass east of Bermuda.

At 5 a.m. EDT, Ophelia had become a Category 2 storm, with winds approaching 100 mph (161 kph). The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the center of Ophelia was about 695 miles (1,118 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, and was moving north-northwest at about 9 mph (15 kph). It was expected to speed up and pass east of Bermuda on Saturday.

The storm reached hurricane strength Thursday afternoon. It is the fourth hurricane of the season.

Earlier, Ophelia caused flooding and cut off communities on Dominica.

Tropical Storm Philippe remains far from land, moving west-northwest with winds of about 45 mph (72 kph).

In the Pacific, meanwhile, Hilary weakened to a tropical depression.

Source: Associated Press