Florence strengthens into a hurricane

Associated Press Writer

HAMILTON, Bermuda - Florence strengthened into a hurricane early Sunday as it approached Bermuda, where residents installed storm shutters and hauled their yachts onto beaches.

Florence became a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The storm was expected to reach the tiny British territory Monday, according to the hurricane center. But it was too early to tell whether it will make a direct hit.

The storm became a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and was expected to strengthen further Sunday, the hurricane center said.

At 2 a.m. EDT, the center of Florence was 360 miles south of Bermuda, moving northwest at 13 mph.

Bermuda issued a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning, and the government urged its 65,000 residents to take precautions. Part of Bermuda's volunteer army has been mobilized.

"We are asking residents to please stay home. We are urging the public's cooperation so that emergency vehicles will have free passage on the roads," Derrick Burgess, minister of public safety, said at a news conference. "Also, we are discouraging the public from sightseeing as this puts everyone at risk."

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