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September year in review: Massive Hurricane Igor bears down on Island

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Bermuda braced itself for the worst storm since Hurricane Fabian in 2003, but Hurricane Igor fizzled out on the Island's doorstep.

Days before the hurricane reached the Island, it was predicted to be a Category 3 monster 500 nautical miles wide with gusts of up to 120 knots, and 50ft waves.

Windows were boarded, stores were closed and thousands of people stockpiled supplies in the build-up to the storm. It was expected to make a near-direct hit, with the eye of the storm passing within 12 nautical miles.

The CedarBridge Academy gymnasium was opened to the public as an emergency shelter, with 67 people taking advantage of the opportunity.

Visitors flocked to LF Wade International Airport trying to get off the Island before the storm could shut it down; hotels worked to reassure their remaining guests.

Speaking to local and international press at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on September 18, the day before the hurricane struck, Premier Ewart Brown called for the community to come together.

“It has often been said that Bermuda is a blessed nation, one that has been spared the worst that the world has to offer.

“Today we have been forced to recognise that the ocean is not so vast and Bermuda not so unique as to be separated from the awesome power of nature.”

But while the Island was prepared for the storm of the century, Bermuda was again spared the worst that nature has to offer.

By the morning of September 19, Igor had weakened to a Category 1 storm. By that afternoon it had veered slightly away from the Island, bringing the storm's closest point of approach to 35 miles.

The Island was not left completely unscathed. Sea surges caused flooding in Boaz Island Village in Somerset and King's Square in St George's.

Several boats, including the Government tender

Bermudian broke free from their moorings and were left stranded on rocks. The

Bermudian, which came to rest near the St George's Boatyard, was stranded for several days.

Most buildings escaped major damage however the Pink Beach Club cottage colony in Hamilton Parish was battered by waves.

Decorative columns near the shore were ripped off the wall and thrown 20 feet, while waves crashed into at least two of the cottages near the ocean, causing structural damage and littering the interiors with rocks, sand and seaweed.

In St David's, a pole crashed into a home at the corner of Texas Road and St Luke's Road.

The Causeway, which was devastated by Hurricane Fabian, received only minor damage.

The City of Hamilton was littered with fallen branches and toppled motorcycles.

Stores reopened and streets were clear although traffic lights were not in operation the day after the storm.

Around 28,700 homes and businesses, or around 80 percent of Belco's customers, were left without electricity in the aftermath of the hurricane.

Power was returned to all but 5,600 properties the next day.

Minister of Public Safety David Burch said: “We've done exceptionally well under the circumstances. I've had no reports of injuries, which is a big plus.”

Despite the Premier's call to come together, some residents turned to criminal activity.

Hours before the hurricane was expected to strike, gunshots were reported near Admiralty Park in Pembroke. The day after Igor, two 22-year-olds were taken to hospital after a shooting on Friswell's Road.

Looters raided several Hamilton stores, taking around $300,000 of merchandise from CJ's Jewellers.

Overall, the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane season was the third worst on record, with 19 named storms including 12 hurricanes, five of which reached Category 3 intensity.

Wild waters: Youngsters are hit by a crashing wave as they watch Hurricane Igor approach the Island
Still there: MV Bermudian on the rocks in St George's after it broke free its moorings during Hurricane Igor. The vessel was eventually refloated and taken away to be repaired.

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Published December 31, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 31, 2010 at 1:07 pm)

September year in review: Massive Hurricane Igor bears down on Island

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