UPDATE 9-Hurricane Gonzalo scores bull's eye hit on Bermuda
(Adds details; no immediate reports of injuries; damage believed to be widespread; future track of storm;)
By Sam Strangeways
HAMILTON, Bermuda Oct 17 (Reuters) - Hurricane Gonzalo slammed into Bermuda on Friday, knocking out most of the electricity as it lashed the tiny Atlantic island chain with pounding surf, torrential rain and howling wind, but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The strongest storm to sweep the subtropical British territory in a decade made full landfall at about 8:30 p.m. as the 35-mile-wide (56 km) eye of the storm crossed the south-central coast of Bermuda, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.
The Category 2 hurricane was packing sustained winds of up to 110 mph (175 kph), down from 140 mph (225 kph) earlier in the day, but it remained a dangerous storm, forecasters said. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 60 miles (95 km) from its center as it bore down on Bermuda.
Gonzalo roared ashore just five days after Bermuda, a low-lying archipelago occupying just 21 square miles (54 sq km) and home to 65,000 people, had been struck by a tropical storm, serving a one-two punch to the islands.
While damage was believed to widespread, authorities were unable to immediately get into the streets to assess the full extent, said Sergeant Russann Francis, a staff officer for the fire department in Hamilton, the capital.
"In terms of injuries, we haven't had any calls come in at this time," she added.
Passage of the hurricane's eye provided a lull of an hour or two during which the skies cleared, the rain and winds ceased and an utter stillness prevailed, broken only by the whistling of tree frogs. Continuación...