Caines emphasises state of readiness
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, urged the Bermuda public yesterday to be prepared for the potential impact of Hurricane Humberto.
Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation has been closely monitoring the Category 1 hurricane’s progress and will meet both tomorrow and Wednesday afternoon, at which point it will be decided what services, if any, will be halted for the storm.
“We want the people of Bermuda to be prepared for the storm,” he said. “We have been through this before.
“The majority of us lived through Emily. We lived through a few of these things.
“How do we minimise damage? How do we prevent people from getting hurt? We prepare.”
Mr Caines added that the Royal Bermuda Regiment has been put on standby and the EMO has been in dialogue with Government House.
He said: “We believe we are capable and talented, and the Bermuda Regiment has trained for this for a number of years, but the Governor has indicated that the [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] does have a team that is ready to assist us on standby in Miami.”
The storm has already caused the cancellation of a town hall meeting on the issue of immigration, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday night.
As of this morning Bermuda was under a Tropical Storm Warning as Humberto continued to travel towards the island.
At 9am today, Hurricane Humberto was 555 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, but the storm is expected to blow 97 miles past Bermuda’s north-northwest at 11pm tomorrow.
The Bermuda Weather Service said last night: “Squalls and showers in patchy heavy rain, as well as gusty thunderstorms, will push out well ahead of Humberto.
“Dangerous seas start Tuesday night. Storm-force winds with hurricane-force gusts may begin as early as Wednesday evening, lasting into Thursday.”
The US-based National Hurricane Centre warned: “Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90mph with higher gusts.
“Additional strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Humberto is forecast to become a major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles.”
Steve Cosham, the national disaster co-ordinator, warned that the forecasts have a margin of error, which means the storm could still miss the island entirely or be a direct hit.
He said: “Humberto is still three days out, and the National Hurricane Centre allows for an error in their predictions of 40 miles for every 12 hours out the storm is.
“This equates to more than 240 miles in three days. This means it’s too early to say exactly what will happen.”
Mr Cosham added: “We could have a direct impact on Thursday or we could have blue skies with hardly any breeze if it’s 240 miles away.
“So we don’t want to pull the trigger on closing anything, but we want to have people understand why we can’t yet make that decision.”
Mr Caines said rain associated with the storm could begin as early as tomorrow morning, and urged all members of the public to prepare for the storm.
“I must implore all Bermudians to take the storm seriously and prepare their homes and businesses and everything in their personal set of circumstances for the storm,” he said.
Mr Caines added: “After mid-morning tomorrow, we will see thunderstorms, which will lead to the edge of Hurricane Humberto.”
Boats were being evacuated yesterday from the Dockyard marina and stored on land ahead of Hurricane Humberto’s approach to the island.
Joanna Cranfield, the business development manager at the West End Development Corporation, warned motorists to take care in Dockyard and noted that the South Basin, North Rock car park and Smithery Lane will be closed to the public.
Travellers were encouraged yesterday to move their vehicles from LF Wade International Airport before the arrival of the storm.
Mikaela Pearman, the marketing and communications officer for Skyport, said: “While we can’t predict the exact weather conditions, the low-lying car park at the LF Wade International Airport has historically been subject to flooding.
Ms Pearman added: “We would like the public to take the necessary precautions and remove their vehicles from the long-term parking area in the event flooding should occur.
“If you are off island, please try to find someone to move your car for you if possible.”
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