Adapted from AP:

The first hurricane of the 2009 Atlantic season has gathered strength with sustained hot air of up to 135 mph, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Hurricane Bill at this time posed no threat to food manufacturers in the Gulf of Mexico but authorities in Bermuda have warned restaurants to be prepared.

With winds extending 45 miles from the eye of the storm, Bill is expected to push well past the Leeward Islands late on Wednesday and early on Thursday. Hurricane centre officials are urging all food manufacturers, shippers and retail outlets on the East Coast to be on the alert.

"The core of this dangerous hurricane will be passing well to the northeast of the northern Leeward Islands late today and early Thursday," the centre said in an advisory statement. Bill has the potential to grow in the next 24 hours and turn toward the Northwest.

Hurricanes of Category 3 or higher on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale are considered "major" and are the most destructive type.