WITH VIDEO: Normalcy returns after Bill

Islanders returned to basking on the beaches yesterday with Hurricane Bill already a distant memory.

Bermuda emerged virtually unscathed from the Category Two hurricane, with no major damage or casualties reported.

Downgraded to a Category One storm yesterday, Bill continued on its path, brushing the coastlines of New England and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces.


  • <b>Nowhere to hide:</b> Kids will be kids and these three were out having fun at John Smith's Bay on Saturday.

    Nowhere to hide: Kids will be kids and these three were out having fun at John Smith's Bay on Saturday.

  • <b>Weather Channel reporter</b> Jim Cantore does a live broadcast from Elbow Beach early Saturday.

    Weather Channel reporter Jim Cantore does a live broadcast from Elbow Beach early Saturday.


Islanders returned to basking on the beaches yesterday with Hurricane Bill already a distant memory.

Bermuda emerged virtually unscathed from the Category Two hurricane, with no major damage or casualties reported.

Downgraded to a Category One storm yesterday, Bill continued on its path, brushing the coastlines of New England and the Canadian Atlantic Provinces.

In Bermuda power was restored to all homes and businesses by midnight Saturday.

The only exception was the resident of a small island.

"The customer is providing a boat tomorrow so we can get there to fix it," said a Belco spokeswoman yesterday.

Up to 3,700 properties lost power during the storm, with 1,300 customers still without electricity on Saturday morning.

The outages were caused by debris falling onto wires and winds blowing out switches rather than any downed power lines. The Bermuda Police Service and Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service reported no major incidents.

At King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the East End Urgent Care Centre, there were no casualties admitted with any storm-related injuries.

The Causeway, which closed at 8.30 p.m. Friday, reopened at 9.30 a.m. on Saturday.

L. F. Wade International Airport was back in operation by 2 p.m. but all flights, bar British Airways and two American Airlines flights from JFK and Miami, were cancelled.

BA decided to delay its London Gatwick-Bermuda departure for several hours due to the hurricane.

An airline spokeswoman said: "Saturday's British Airways flights were delayed for several hours due to the high winds. The incoming flight from London arrived shortly after 9 p.m.

"The outbound flight, BA 2232, left just after 11 p.m. and was completely full.

Yesterday JetBlue sent an additional aircraft to transport its passengers unable to fly on Saturday, and all airport flight schedules returned to normal.

On the ground, Works and Engineering crews cleared all roads of debris by Saturday lunchtime, with the exception of a section of South Road near John Smith's Bay.

The only people seeking shelter at CedarBridge Academy were six homeless people.

They were transported to the Government emergency shelter by the Salvation Army.

At its closest point, Hurricane Bill passed 166 nautical miles (191 miles) west-southwest of the Island.

Gusts at Commissioner's Point, Dockyard, reached 84 knots, with gusts of 52 knots reported at L.F. Wade International Airport.

The Bermuda Weather Service reported waves outside the reef of 30 to 35 feet.

While some surfers took advantage of the swells, the public were advised not to swim along the South Shore due to heavy surf and treacherous rip currents.

Bermudian surfer Choy Aming, 34, said: "There was some good swell in front of the Reefs Hotel. That only breaks about every two years, it is the biggest wave in Bermuda.

"It was nearly 15 ft but fairly messy. I still got a few good rides.

"The rest of Friday and Saturday were just too windy to hold any good surf, but Saturday was epic for kiteboarding."

The Bermuda Weather Service lifted its Small Craft Warning yesterday but said southerly swell and strong surf conditions were still present.

The only incidents reported by Bermuda Maritime Operations were boats breaking loose from their moorings.

"We had four or five yachts broken from their moorings but no incidents where anyone got hurt," said a spokesman.

In the East End, plant and tree debris in the streets was the only sign of any damage.

The tallest tree in St. David's, a 90-year-old 80 ft Norfolk Pine, was felled in advance of the approaching hurricane.

Homeowners in Chapel of Ease Road decided to remove the tree as they had recently renovated their property and "feared the worst".

In the central parishes there was no major damage, and residents said they were relieved the Island had escaped the full force of the hurricane.

"We are blessed, there's been very little damage, just a few trees down," said one Bermudian woman from Paget.

"It wasn't as powerful as Fabian so I was thankful for that," said Lana Talbot, a school psychologist from Smith's. "This one, it's just been high winds and a lot of rain."

It was the beaches which took the brunt of the storm.

John Smith's Bay in particular was strewn with trash with evidence of sand erosion, particularly around the lifeguard hut.

The debris on the beach included washed-up plastic bottles, branches and pieces of wood.

Velerie Trott, 55, of Paget, said: "I'm shocked to see the trash that has washed up. I have even seen a piece of metal and some wire."

She added: "You can't compare this to Fabian but I guess it's probably along the same effects in terms of the wind, the waves and the beach erosion."

Lawyer Charles Richardson, a resident of Smith's, said: "The storm wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.

"I think the most amazing thing around this neighbourhood for us is the chance to see the surf. We don't get the chance to see it like this too often. It reinstills your respect for Mother Nature."

At Warwick Long Bay there was more evidence of sand erosion, with the drop-off from the beach leading into the water flattened by the storm.

A large piece of concrete and wire structure was also washed up on the shore.

Tourists and residents gathered along the South Shore to watch the powerful waves hitting the shoreline.

At Elbow Beach, 'storm tracker' and meteorologist Jim Cantore reported on the pounding wind and surf for the 'Weather Channel'.

Mr. Cantore told The Royal Gazette: "I think what is amazing about this storm is it has a tropical storm wind field with a centre which extends 275 miles at one point. "That's why it's still windy here even though the storm is 200 miles away. But this storm has just brushed Bermuda."

In the West End, Robin Gilbert, manager of 9 Beaches, said power was out for 12 hours overnight on Friday but that the cabana resort escaped any damage. "We were in the lee of the storm because the wind was coming from the south east and there was a big hill shielding us, so that worked very well," he said.

"Even in the north side there was not a ripple on the water, it was like a mill pond.

"However we had a few guests who slept on mattresses in the lobby because they were a bit worried about sleeping in the cabanas at night. We had about ten guests from the 60 or so who slept there."

In the City of Hamilton, shops, bars and restaurants reopened from Saturday morning. The ripped Union Jack flag at the Flagpole and boarded-up shop windows were the only signs of a passing storm.

Diane Gordon, executive vice-president of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce, said: "I think the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) has done a really good job of keeping people advised and informed."

Acting Minister for Labour, Home Affairs and Housing, Walter Roban, praised the work of the emergency services, Bermuda Weather Service, Bermuda Regiment and Ministry of Works and Engineering staff.

He also thanked the public for their patience, cooperation and community spirit. "Bermudians have a certain spirit of working together," said Mr. Roban.

He said EMO would now conduct "a thorough post-mortem" on measures during Hurricane Bill. "We will look at anything which might not have gone the way we wanted and implement anything which will make things better for future events," he said.

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