‘Our country is resilient’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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‘Our country is resilient’

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Numerous buildings were damaged and more than 28,000 people lost power as Hurricane Humberto battered Bermuda last night.

Somerset Police Station lost part of its roof; although all officers were said to be safe — in the storm that lashed the island with hurricane force winds for several hours.

Windows were shattered at the CedarBridge Academy shelter, but none of the 46 members of the public or 30 support staff in the building were injured.

At least a quarter of the roof blew off Island Glass, on Serpentine Road, Pembroke, many homes were damaged across the island, with Somerset appearing to be particularly affected by the destruction, and walls came down at the National Stadium.

Clive Thatcher, the owner of Island Glass, told The Royal Gazette from the scene this morning: “We've been through all the hurricanes for the last 30 to 40 years. This is the first time we've had any damage.”

The Government warned people to stay off the roads this morning, because of thousands of downed trees and power lines.

At Humberto's peak point of impact, at about 8.30pm, wind speeds of more than 81mph and gusts of more than 114mph, were recorded at LF Wade International Airport.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami reported that an automated station at Pearl Island recorded sustained winds of 100mph and a wind gust of 123mph.

The storm's closest point to the island, according to the USNHC, came at about 9pm, when it was about 75 miles away.

Public schools and Government offices will be closed today and the Causeway remained shut at 9am as it was being examined for structural damage.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said at 7.45am: “We have come through a really, really challenging night.

“There were no fatalities. Our country is resilient. Today, we are going to get through this.”

The minister said emergency agencies conducted an islandwide assessment, and removed large trees which had been uprooted during the hurricane and were blocking main roads.

Mr Caines said: “Once the assessment has been completed, restoration of main lines, critical infrastructure and institutions will begin.

“Our priorities will remain with emergencies ensuring the safety of the public and Belco crews.”

The Department of Parks, the Department of Works and Engineering and the Royal Bermuda Regiment were out clearing roads this morning but some remained reduced to one lane because of large trees.

Mr Caines urged people to stay off the roads until they have been cleared of dangerously low power lines, but encouraged them to help clean up their neighbourhoods, and “look out for the seniors and most vulnerable”.

David Burt, the Premier, said: “We've made it through and everyone is safe. That's what is most important.”

Mr Burt noted the birth of a healthy baby girl at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and added: “Congratulations to those parents whose new arrival provided a welcome note of joy in the midst of the storm.”

The Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service received 45 calls by midnight, including three minor structural fires, nine medical incidents, 17 minor incidents such as gas leaks and transformer fires and 16 automatic fire alarms.

Emergency incidents included a reported propane gas leak at Caesar's Pharmacy on Main Road, Somerset, and a car getting stuck near Stokes Point Road, St George's.

Harbour Radio reported a boat in distress, but said the single occupant on-board was found safe, on land and uninjured.

Power outages affected 28,524 Belco customers, about 80 per cent of the island, by 12.50am.

Most were still without power by 8am, although crews were deployed at first light and were assessing circuits within their division.

Hurricane force winds, which had started in the early evening, had largely subsided by 10.30pm.

By 3am, the Bermuda Weather Service lifted its tropical storm warning as the hurricane had raced nearly 200 miles north-northwest of Bermuda.

At 6am, the BWS said: “Skies will brighten, the humidity will remain in the 70s and cooler moderate northwest winds will gradually veer north by tonight.”

A small craft warning remained in place.

A Government spokeswoman warned about the looming threat of Tropical Storm Jerry, which was more 1,300 miles southeast of Bermuda at 6am today, but it is forecast to veer in the island's general direction, next week.

Jerry, which is forecast to develop into a Category 1 hurricane later today, is predicted to be 660 miles away from Bermuda on Sunday morning, but is expected to get closer after that.

Bermuda Hospitals Board said sections of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute and old Continuing Care Unit facilities had suffered damage but that patient care was not impacted and staff kept services running throughout the storm.

Anna Nowak, the vice-president of public relations at BHB, said: “Special thanks to all BHB staff who have worked tirelessly through the storm to ensure care continued.

“It takes hundreds of clinical, support and administrative staff in multiple facilities to implement organisational hurricane plans and ensure all events during the storm are managed so that people in need of care and support receive it without interruption.”

Major damage: a wall has been blown off a home on Somerset Island, on Somerset Road, near Tween The Walls Lane (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Hurricane damage in Somerset Village (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Damage to the roof of Somerset Police Station (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Residents clean up after Humberto in the West End (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Blue Hole Hill Road, Hamilton Parish, is shown with slate from the roof of a commercial building (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
A tree is shown split in half on Bermudiana Road in Hamilton (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)
Hurricane damage at Island Glass (Photograph by Sekou Hendrickson)

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Published September 19, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 19, 2019 at 1:10 pm)

‘Our country is resilient’

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