Humberto recovery continues
Bermuda was “bloodied but unbowed” yesterday in the wake of Hurricane Humberto, a Category 3 hurricane that packed 125mph at its peak.
The storm’s centre swung 75 miles north of Bermuda, battering the island with winds that pried into roofs, knocked out power for 80 per cent of homes and clogged roads with branches and debris.
In its aftermath, Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, commended the “true Bermudian spirit of support and resilience”.
At sunrise, a combined team of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, works and engineering staff and Belco workers swung into action.
Power restoration could take four days, Belco warned last night: by 7pm 16,448 remained without power, with 56 per cent of customers restored.
Asking for the public’s patience, a spokesman added: “Our crews are making good progress, but there are challenges.
“Much of the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto is making it difficult to quickly and easily restore large areas at a time, so crews are working methodically, as fast as they can, to reroute lines and replace infrastructure as needed.”
Buses today remain out of service, and Mr Caines implored drivers last night to keep off the roads as work continued “around the clock”.
Even as the Atlantic season’s third hurricane churned north, Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation would convene on Monday to assess Hurricane Jerry, a possible threat early next week.
He praised the community’s readiness and collaboration — although one person was in police custody yesterday for burgling buses.
Today, public schools remain closed. Friday trash collection is scheduled to proceed, while homes missed on Thursday will be served tomorrow.
Ferries are running, but an update on the bus service is expected today. The bus depot at Palmetto Road remained without power last night.
Bermuda High School, reporting “quite a bit of damage”, remains closed today.
Saltus, where debris was still being cleaned up, opens on Monday, while Somersfield Academy declared itself ready for classes today.
Sue Moench, the principal at Mount Saint Agnes Academy, posted on the school’s Facebook page that it would reopen today, and Wayne Edwards, the Bermuda Institute principal, confirmed his school was set for today. Warwick Academy reopens on Monday.
At CedarBridge Academy, where 49 people weathered Humberto in an emergency shelter, the school sustained storm damage that Mr Caines said would be fixed “in short order”.
The emergency shelter was not affected.
The storm dealt damage to the roof of the acute care wing at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, with minor damage reported for the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.
Somerset Police Station was put out of commission, and a propane leak at LF Wade International Airport was tackled. The Causeway reopened at midday.
Three structural fires were reported. Roofs all over Bermuda took damage: a section of roof was torn from a warehouse at Penno’s Wharf in St George’s, revealing the onion, traditionally dropped at New Year’s Eve, stored inside.
Two Bermuda National Trust properties in the Town of St George suffered during Humberto. The historic Buckingham, which dates back to about 1750, was dealt “relatively minor” damage to its roof.
More seriously affected was the roof of Samaritans’ Lodge on Water Street, where a trust team rendered it “safe from the elements” yesterday.
Heidi Daniels-Roque, one of the owners of the St David’s Variety Store, explained that properties on the island’s Texas Road suffered roof damage.
She said the business opened at about 1pm yesterday, adding: “It has been busy — a lot of people need ice, and gas for generators.”
At the other end of the island, the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard will stay shut today because of cruise ship cancellations, and to give time for cleanup efforts.
Visitors to Bermuda got to experience a different side of island life during Humberto.
Tim Morrison, the general manager of the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, said the resort’s team kept guests “safe and entertained throughout”.
Damage ranged from minor leaks in rooms and some water in the lobby, while a tree was uprooted in the car park.
Mr Morrison added: “We’re pleased to say, though, that these issues have been managed and the disruption to our guests and members of the public is at a minimum.
Simon Boden, the director of sales and marketing at Fairmont Southampton, said yesterday: “Generally speaking, we got through the storm very well. Everybody is safe and we are open for business.”
Mr Boden said about 300 guests stayed at the hotel on Wednesday night.
He added: “We were able to get some very positive feedback.
“We have an extensive hurricane preparedness programme that we enacted, it came off flawlessly.”
A spokeswoman at Elbow Beach Resort and Spa said the damage there was limited to a fallen tree.
She added: “We are in tip-top shape. Our building is over 100 years old; it’s survived every single hurricane. Now we are keeping an eye on Jerry.”
As the cleanup continues, Tynes Bay is open today for dropping off waste from 7am to 7pm. And Marsh Folly is waiving tipping fees for the disposal of trees, wood waste and foliage.
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