10/15/2014 11:16 EDT | Updated 12/15/2014 05:59 EST

Hurricane Gonzalo advances, storm forecast to hit Atlantic Canada

Forecasters say Hurricane Gonzalo is increasing in intensity and could bring high winds and rain to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland by late Saturday.

Gonzalo is moving north past Bermuda, with sustained winds of 205 km/h and gusts to 250 km/h.

It was upgraded to a Category 4 storm just after noon on Wednesday.

"While there continues to be quite a spread and some disagreement on the exact track and eventual timing of Gonzalo, at the moment at least, the bulk of the model runs do have the storm tracking through our region late Saturday or early Sunday," said CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon.

"Whether it officially makes landfall on the island [Newfoundland] or not, it's looking more likely that we will see some impact from the storm."

There's uncertainty about the storm's path, and it could track anywhere from just east of Cape Breton to well offshore over Newfoundland's Grand Banks. That's a roughly 600-kilometre span, according to Environment Canada.

The storm will become post-tropical as it moves northward, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be weaker, Snoddon explained.

"It only means the storm has changed the way it functions. Instead of fuelling itself from warm ocean water, when these storms move this far north they actually transition and begin functioning like a regular mid-latitude storm, fuelling from temperature contrasts instead."

Snoddon said the storm will move quickly through the region, and he expects a "12-hour event" for those in Gonzalo's path.

"That quick speed of the storm should help to keep those overall total amounts from being too impressive. The heaviest rains will fall along and west of the eventual track, wherever that ends up being," said Snoddon.

However, if Gonzalo does move into the region as forecast, the winds will be impressive.

"If the track is far enough southeast, the strongest winds could remain offshore. If the track is further west, then the island itself would see those strongest winds," Snoddon noted.