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Epsilon likely to pass as ’winter gale’

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Be prepared: Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, during a hurricane update (File photograph)

Hurricane Epsilon, now a “strong Category 2 storm”, is expected to deliver marginal tropical storm force winds today and tomorrow as it nears the island, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said yesterday.

Epsilon – which last night reached Category 3 strength before weakening back to a Category 2 – is expected to pass around 200 miles to the island’s east at midnight tonight.

Mark Guishard said yesterday afternoon it should bring “no worse impact than a winter gale” with “no hurricane force winds expected to impact the area”.

The hurricane was 235 miles east-southeast of Bermuda at 9am today.

The storm’s position meant its winds will hit from the northeast today and tonight, and move more northerly tomorrow.

The US-based National Hurricane Centre said in its 9am update: “On the forecast track, the centre of Epsilon is forecast to make its closest approach to, but well to the east of, Bermuda later this evening.

“Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 100mph with higher gusts. Slow weakening is forecast during the next few days.

“Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 310 miles.

Renée Ming, the national security minister, said yesterday it was unlikely that the Royal Bermuda Regiment would be called up or the Causeway closed.

But she warned residents to keep up with developments through the BWS site as the storm could still change course.

The Emergency Measures Organisation met yesterday, and may meet today as well, for a review of Epsilon’s potential threat to the island.

Ms Ming said no disruption to public services was expected.

She added: “There are some sea swells, particularly on the South Shore, and we urge people to stay out of the water until Epsilon passes.”

Ms Ming said September and October were Bermuda’s peak months in the hurricane season, which ends on November 30.

She added: “The community may be feeling a sense of hurricane and coronavirus fatigue.

“We have definitely been tested as country this year, but we must not become complacent.”

Steve Cosham, the national disaster coordinator, said this evening and much of tomorrow would see “some strong gusts”, and warned bike riders in particular to take care.

Mr Cosham said the public would be notified “immediately” if the storm moved any closer.

He added: “Hurricanes Paulette and Teddy should have taken down the weaker trees and branches.

“If a branch or a tree comes down, please notify Public Works at 295-5151.”

*UPDATE: This article has been updated to include the latest information from the Bermuda Weather Service and US forecasters.

Hurricane Epsilon at 9am on Thursday, October 22 (Graphic from the Bermuda Weather Service)

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Published October 22, 2020 at 9:43 am (Updated October 22, 2020 at 9:43 am)

Epsilon likely to pass as ’winter gale’

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