Cheese. (popehippo) wrote in ontd_political,

On the plus side, Hurricane Lewinsky is not anywhere near.

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Hurricane Bill strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday as it churned far from land with maximum sustained winds near 135 mph.

At 5 a.m. ET, Bill was centered about 460 miles east of the Leeward Islands, and more than 1,100 miles southeast of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center.

"It's a little too early to evaluate what kind of direct impact Bill may have," senior hurricane specialist Jack Bevin with the National Hurricane Center told CNN. "Most of the computer guidance has the storm passing between Bermuda and the U.S. coastline, then turning northeastward." Although Bermuda may avoid a direct hit, Bevin cautions Hurricane Bill is a very large storm and is generating a lot of waves and swells.

The National Hurricane Center doesn't expect Hurricane Bill to impact the southern United States. For the northeastern coastline, it's still too early to tell. Some forecasts bring the storm very close, but Bevin says, "Other models turn it more sharply out to sea and not have it affect anybody."

Forecasters expected Bill to maintain its intensity, while turning more to the northwest on Wednesday.

The storm's five-day forecast map shows Bill missing Bermuda before beginning to loop away from the U.S. East Coast.

No computer models showed Bill posing a major danger to the United States. However, the models show possible landfall in the Canadian Maritimes, north of Maine.

Bill, the first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season, was heading west-northwest at near 16 mph early Wednesday.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 45 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 175 miles.

The remnants of Tropical Depression Ana continued to drop heavy rain across Hispaniola and Cuba on Tuesday, CNN meteorologists said. Forecasters expect Ana to wash southern Florida in heavy rain as it passes through the Keys this week.

There's a slight chance that Ana could regenerate into a tropical cyclone after it moves into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico later this week, the National Hurricane Center said.

Tags: weather

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