World Bulletin/News Desk
Hurricane Leslie was downgraded to a tropical storm on Friday as it swirled over the Atlantic on a track toward Bermuda but is expected to regain hurricane strength before passing by the island on Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.
A wealthy British overseas territory and global reinsurance center, Bermuda is not expected to take a direct hit from Leslie, which could re-strengthen by Sunday to a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest on the Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity.
Leslie then is expected to intensify into a Category 2 hurricane with wind speeds of 100 mph (160 kph) on Monday.
Forecasts show the storm will veer slightly east of the tiny island of 20 square miles (52 square km) with 65,000 residents.
Residents in the rocky archipelago stocked up on food and water - as well as alcohol, for traditional hurricane parties. Most government offices and all of the island's schools and beaches were closed on Friday.
Some of the island's hotels have advised guests to consider leaving early before the worst of the storm is felt.
Tropical storm-force winds are expected by Sunday morning to batter the island located 640 miles (1,030 km) off the east coast of the United States, as the season's sixth Atlantic hurricane follows its slow trajectory northward.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said Leslie was about 390 miles (630 km) south-southeast of Bermuda moving in a northerly direction at 5 miles per hour (7 kph), with maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (100 kph). Before being downgraded to tropical storm status, Leslie had spent two days as a Category 1 hurricane over the Atlantic.
The large span of storm winds combined with its slow movement "will produce large waves and life-threatening rip currents on Bermuda and along much of the U.S. East Coast through the weekend," the hurricane center said.
Southeasterly swells have been generating hazardous surf and rip currents in Bermuda's waters since Wednesday.
Farther out in the ocean, Hurricane Michael, the first Category 3 storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was downgraded to Category 2 late on Thursday.
Michael was moving north on Friday, about 930 miles (1,495 km) west-southwest of the Azores, and was not a threat to land.
It had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph). A gradual weakening is expected during the next 48 hours, the hurricane center said.
New Unified Combatant Command 'will strengthen our cyberspace operations'
Opposition lawmakers refuse to attend session announcing decree
The 15 council members held the commemoration at the start of a session dedicated to the crisis in Yemen.
Catalonia police spokesman Josep Lluis Trapero added that a driver who mowed down crowds of pedestrians in the first attack in a busy Barcelona street Thursday could be among five suspects later shot dead in a nearby city.
Massoud Barzani, General Joseph Leonard Fotel discuss fight against ISIL, planned referendum on region’s independence
Sergey Lavrov, Sigmar Gabriel say there is 'no alternative' to political, diplomatic solutions
UN agency says civilians in South Sudan keep flocking to Ethiopia as fight between government forces, rebels continues
Around 1,000 migrants, refugees to be moved to 18 sites across Ile-de-France region
Victim's name will not be released until family is informed, says Turkey's embassy in Madrid
For his part, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told RTL radio that "the number of those who have been seriously injured may perhaps be even higher at around 17."
New York Police Department officials said the force would hold a press conference but declined to provide scheduling details.
Death toll feared to rise due to severe conditions of the many injured
The pickup truck, which had an improvised white wooden trailer constructed over the back, was transporting them in "overcrowded and unsanitary conditions," said a state police report seen by AFP.
At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 injured when a driver deliberately slammed his vehicle into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street -- Las Ramblas -- in what police qualified as a "terror attack."
The van attack that mowed down pedestrians on Barcelona's most famous street on Thursday killing at least 13 people was the latest fatal assault on a European city.
The agreement to open the market potentially worth $10 million a year came after US Vice President Mike Pence met this week with Argentina's president Mauricio Macri.