Residents’ fears for families as storm hits

  • Storm surge: waves crash against the coast in Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, yesterday. Alex was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it hit the islands (Photograph by Rui Soares/Reuters)

    Storm surge: waves crash against the coast in Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, yesterday. Alex was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it hit the islands (Photograph by Rui Soares/Reuters)

Members of Bermuda’s Azorean community experienced a tense couple of days as Hurricane Alex made its approach to the Azores.

Alex, a rare January hurricane, weakened to become a tropical storm as it hit the islands, making landfall on Terceira.

The National Hurricane Centre last night reported that the storm had caused “limited” damage and gave an all-clear report on its website.

Jorge Pavao, a mason who lives in Paget, spoke to his family in São Miguel and was pleased to hear that they had not experienced too much disruption.

“My family were OK but some people lost parts of their roof, there were some floods and mudslides and a couple of trees fell down,” he said. “Many had prepared their houses with plywood boards on the doors and windows, and sandbags.

“People had a lot of problems a few weeks ago with the bad weather there. A boy died and we used to play football with him in São Roque in the south.

“There is a road that is very close to the water and if there is bad weather the waves can come straight over. He was driving his van to go clean the drains on the roads but the waves took him and the van.

“But it wasn’t so bad this time. My family have houses that are inland so we didn’t suffer that much.”

Smith’s resident Delia Frias was particularly concerned about the storm because her mother, living in Povoação, is 96.

“My mom and cousins live out there. I talked to my cousin and everything is OK,” she said.

“There is some damage in the streets and near the ocean but the house is OK.

“There was one house that had a tree fall on top of it.

“They do the same as we do in Bermuda — secure the doors and windows and they put sandbags by the doors as well.

“I was worried and kept asking my cousins to let me know as my mother is 96. I am supposed to be going back to see her next week.”

A Bermuda resident, who wanted to be referred to only by her first name, Hilda, has family in the northwest.

“My family are up on a higher elevation. They just had a lot of rain and wind but no damage — there are no trees down near us or any damage to the house,” she said. “I spoke to my parents twice today and they said that there had been some trees down in the city, Ponta Delgada, and the ocean was rough.

“My family stays in Capelas [São Miguel]. All my family are in that area and they don’t have any damage. My brother even went to work but the schools were closed.”

The National Hurricane Centre has no coastal watches or warnings in effect in the area.

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Published Jan 16, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 16, 2016 at 2:01 am)

Residents’ fears for families as storm hits

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