Hurricane Nicole heads into open sea after direct hit on Bermuda -NHC

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There is visible damage, however despite being hit by a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 115 miles per hour [185 km/h], we have not, as of yet in our travels, seen catastrophic levels of damage, with Bermuda's strong buildings appearing to have carried us through yet another storm.

The Royal Gazette newspaper said the storm, rated as a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, sheared rooftops from buildings, uprooted trees, flooded homes and downed power lines as it hit Bermuda with sustained winds of up to 195kph.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says hurricane hunter aircraft show that Nicole's maximum sustained winds have increased to 130 miles per hour (215 kph).

Although a gradual weakening is forecast, Nicole is expected to be at major hurricane strength when it moves near Bermuda later today. Sustained winds exceeded hurricane force at observations points on the island nation before Nicole continued on its northeasterly path away from Bermuda and into the colder North Atlantic.

Three America's Cup teams have bases and boats in Bermuda including Oracle Team USA which has just taken delivery of their AC50 on the island. This means the worst or "eye wall" may not hit the island, but being on the right hand side of her track, which is the strong side, they will be hammered with winds to 100 miles per hour. "Downtown Hamilton #Bermuda. Ghost town as incredibly unsafe #HurricaneNicole approaches", she said. National Hurricane Center in Miami called Nicole an "extremely dangerous" storm and urged islanders to rush preparations for its powerful rain and winds.

Forecasters now expect Nicole to continue swirling in the Atlantic and eventually dissipate without making landfall anywhere else.

As of 11 a.m., the eye of the 120-mph storm was passing directly over Bermuda, the hurricane center reported. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 65 miles (100 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

Six to 8 inches of rain was also expected through tonight as Nicole passes.

Swells associated with Nicole will also continue to affect the island during the next few days. Forecasters warned that it was still risky.