Hurricane Watch for Bermuda is lifted
A hurricane watch for Bermuda was this afternoon lifted as Tropical Storm Maria passed to the Island's west causing hardly any damage.
Belco reported a handful of power outages and police were not aware of any reports of damage.
Flights and ferry services were the worst hit - with all ferries except the Pink route cancelled and all flights at LF Wade International Airport also cancelled.
Several flights to and from the Island were cancelled yesterday as Bermuda braced itself for Tropical Storm Maria.
The storm, the third in as many weeks to affect the Island, passed at about 100 nautical miles to the west-northwest of the Island at its closest point at 1pm today.
Meteorologists predicted the Island would experience showers and possibly thunder, with south-easterly gusts from gale force to hurricane force this morning.
Conditions are expected to lighten as the day progresses and the storm moves further from Bermuda.
The Causeway remained open all day although it was monitored closely.
No large storm surge is expected, but rip currents and significant wave action were predicted, mirroring the effects of recent Tropical Storms Jose and Katia.
This afternoon a Government spokeswoman said: "While Bermuda has been spared any major impact from Tropical Storm Maria, the Island continues to feel remnants of the weather system.
"Winds at the Causeway saw a brief increase to 40 knots with gusts to 50 knots , but there have been no sustained winds reaching 50 knots today. However, Bermuda can expect a continuation of the tropical storm force winds for the next few hours.
"According to the Bermuda Weather Service, the winds are no longer blowing across the Causeway and at this point, the bridge will continue to be open. However there is now a crosswind at the runway at the LF Wade International Airport.
"While the Hurricane Watch has been dropped for Bermuda, a Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect. Maria has passed its closest point of approach and has not yet intensified to hurricane strength."
The potential impact of the storm caused the cancellation of American Airlines flights 308 and 1438 to Bermuda from Miami and New York respectively.
As a result, the airline has also cancelled flights 271 and 1443, scheduled to depart the Island this morning to the two cities. Air Tran flight 1811 from Baltimore is also cancelled.
JetBlue also cancelled flights between Bermuda and both Boston and New York, but has offered to lift re-booking fees and fare differences for travellers.
Travellers can re-book flights tomorrow or Saturday by calling 1-800-884-9616 (or 1-800-538-2583 if outside Bermuda).
BA cancelled its flight today.
Douglas Patterson, co-owner of Makin' Waves, said Dockyard businesses would undoubtedly be affected by the cruise ship cancellations due to poor weather in recent weeks.
“It always has an impact, but what can you do?” he said.
“We have 2,000 or 3,000 people who are not there. Obviously it's going to be a big impact. It's unfortunate, especially when it's in the busy time of year, but there's nothing you can do.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department of Marine and Ports advised that ferry service between Hamilton and St George's has been suspended.
The Bermudian will remain on standby in case it is required.
National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief this morning warned the public to be careful while riding on the Island's wet roadways, particularly people travelling on bikes.
And he called for residents to remain prepared as the hurricane season continues.
“Please do not be complacent,” he said. “We have been lucky thus far, but there is still a ways to go. The hurricane season doesn't end until November 30.”
He reminded the public to be on the lookout for notices from the Emergency Measures Organisation, both on the Emergency Broadcast System at 100.1FM, and www.emobermuda.com.
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