HAMILTON, Bermuda – Fierce waves pounded the breakwaters and shores of Bermuda on Sunday, battering oceanfront hotels as Hurricane Igor lashed the wealthy British enclave.

Bermudians battened down their homes in pelting rain to wait out Igor, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Some storm-seasoned islanders ventured outside to gawk at the 15-foot surf or to triple-tie boat moorings even as officials warned them to stay indoors.

“We are urging residents to please go home and stay in until it is all over,” said government spokeswoman Beverle Lottimore.

Those who did venture outside were met with howling winds, and gusts of hurricane force were reported by midday. Flooding was reported in low-lying areas and streets in downtown Hamilton, the capital, were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris.

Igor’s eye was expected to pass over or very close to Bermuda late Sunday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. But with hurricane-force winds extending up to 90 miles from the storm’s eye, even a near-miss could cause substantial damage.

The storm was expected to veer northeast — away from the United States — after passing Bermuda. But forecasters said it would continue causing high surf and strong rip currents along the U.S. eastern seaboard.