Hurricane Gonzalo regained strength on Thursday, again reaching Category 4, as it swirled towards Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. For the second time in two days Hurricane Gonzalo has reached a Category 4 storm warning as it fluctuates in intensity. Gonzalo is howling with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and is centered about 540 miles south-southwest of Bermuda – where a hurricane warning is in effect.

The eye of Gonzalo is expected to pass near Bermuda at around 4pm on Friday – a dangerous storm surge is expected along with heavy rainfall Florida looks set to avoid the severe weather, although it could generate large swells and an increased risk of rip currents later in the week Forecasters say Hurricane Gonzalo has strengthened overnight and is once again a dangerous storm as it barrels toward the small British island territory of Bermuda.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Gonzalo reached Category 4 strength early on Thursday for the second time in two days while fluctuating in intensity. The hurricane was expected to send large swells and potentially dangerous surf conditions to the U.S. east coast on Thursday before bringing hurricane-force winds to Bermuda on Friday, forecasters said. Gonzalo briefly reached Category 4 status on Wednesday but dropped back to a Category 3 by the evening as it continued to move away from the northern Caribbean, forecasters said. It is expected to see slow weakening on Thursday night, with steadier weakening starting by late Friday, the center said.

Gonzalo is the sixth hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season, which runs through the end of November. Forecasters in August predicted lower-than-usual activity for the season, with seven to 12 named storms and no more than two reaching major hurricane status. A major hurricane is considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 111 mph (178 kph). Gonzalo 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.

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