* Leslie expected to pass close to island on Sunday
* Hurricane forces schools, beaches to close in Bermuda
By Ayo Johnson
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Hurricane Leslie idled on Friday, swirling over the open Atlantic on a track toward Bermuda, the wealthy British overseas territory and global reinsurance center.
Residents in the rocky archipelago stocked up on food, water - and alcohol, for traditional hurricane parties. Most government offices and all of the island's schools and beaches were closed on Friday.
Bermuda is not expected to take a direct hit from Leslie, a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Forecasts show the storm will veer on Sunday slightly east of the tiny island of 20 square miles (52 square km) with 65,000 residents.
But tropical storm-force winds are expected by Sunday morning to batter the island located 640 miles (1,030 km) off the east coast of the United States, as the season's sixth Atlantic hurricane follows its slow trajectory northward.
Southeasterly swells have been generating hazardous surf and rip currents in Bermuda's waters since Wednesday.
Some of the island's hotels have advised guests to consider leaving early before the worst of the storm is felt.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Leslie was almost stationary, sitting about 415 miles (670 km) south-southeast of Bermuda late with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph).
The Bermuda Weather Service expects Leslie to intensify into a Category 2 hurricane with wind speeds of 95 mph (152 kph) and to pass close by the island on Sunday morning.
Farther out in the ocean, Hurricane Michael, the first Category 3 storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was downgraded to a Category 2 late on Thursday.
Michael was moving north on Friday, about 920 miles (1,485 km) west-southwest of the Azores, and was not a threat to land.
It had maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph). A gradual weakening is expected during the next 48 hours, the Miami-based hurricane center said. (Editing by David Adams and Vicki Allen)