ST. JOHN'S, Antigua — Hurricane Gonzalo formed Monday in the Caribbean and was on course to move out over open ocean after buffeting Antigua and nearby islands with heavy rain and wind.
Gonzalo passed near Antigua as a tropical storm, tearing roofs from homes and knocking down trees, then gathered enough force near St. Martin to be reclassified as a hurricane.
"It's intensified at a pretty brisk pace since yesterday and we expect it to strengthen," said Michael Brennan of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The storm was on track to take a turn away from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the northwest. It was not expected to reach the U.S. mainland but forecasters said it could develop into a major hurricane and pose a threat to Bermuda later in the week. Over the weekend, Tropical Storm Fay had knocked out power to thousands in Bermuda.
As of 8 p.m., the center of Gonzalo was about 5 miles north of St. Martin and 125 miles east of St. Thomas. It had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph and was moving northwest at 12 mph.
For several hours, heavy rain and strong winds lashed Antigua. Downed trees blocked roads and many people lost power. No injuries or deaths were reported.