BC-WEA-GONZALO:FL - world (150 words),0207

Category 4 Hurricane Gonzalo closing in on Bermuda

By Ken Kaye

Sun Sentinel (MCT)

Category 4 Gonzalo is starting to spread wind and rain over Bermuda this morning, with much worse conditions expected as the day wears on.

Although it might weaken to Category 3 later today, the system still is likely to produce damaging winds across the small island nation and life-threatening storm surge at its coast.

Gonzalo’s core, where the most intense winds lurk, is projected to be over or near Bermuda this afternoon and tonight.

After departing Bermuda, Gonzalo is forecast to steadily weaken as it moves northeast into cooler waters. It could potentially brush or hit Newfoundland, Canada, over the weekend before falling apart.

Earlier this week, the system uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged scores of boats in the Caribbean islands of Antigua, St Maarten, and Martinique, local authorities and media reports said.

An 87-year-old sailor in St Maarten died after his boat sank in a marina, where 37 vessels were damaged, the Daily Herald reported.

LOCATION: 195 miles southwest of Bermuda

STRENGTH: Sustained winds of 130 mph

MOVEMENT: Northeast at 15 mph

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