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Storm Riley lashes Bermuda

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Under water: Shelly Bay playground was severely flooded after being struck by huge waves and heavy winds at the weekend (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Shelly Bay lost a chunk of land as Storm Riley lashed Bermuda over the weekend.

The Hamilton Parish beach and playground was severely flooded by crashing waves and strong winds.

A retaining wall was smashed at Coney Island bridge, while hundreds of people lost power as a result of fallen utility poles.

As of 6.45pm yesterday, 72 Belco customers were out of power, down from 1,300 residences at 11.30am.

Ferry service has been suspended “until further notice” as high winds continue to batter the island.

The Bermuda Emissions Control Southside Testing Facility in St David’s was damaged in the storm and will remain shut until repairs can be carried out.

Residents were urged to brace themselves for more stormy weather this evening with gusts of 70mph expected.

Wayne Furbert, the MP for Hamilton West, said that Shelly Bay had taken “a beating”.

He added: “There is a lot of cleanup that has to be done.”

Mr Furbert said he would discuss those efforts with Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works.

Michael Dunkley, the former premier and MP for Smith’s North, said that a fair amount of debris remained in the Shelly Bay playground last night.

Mr Dunkley said that he had been in touch with Colonel Burch about beach erosion and other damage, and had requested assistance in cleaning up.

Mr Dunkley said he had checked in with his constituents throughout the weekend.

He said: “We weathered the storm well.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Public Works said yesterday: “As is the normal process following a severe storm, the Ministry of Public Works will assess any resulting damage and take corrective action.”

Ken Smith, meteorologist with the Bermuda Weather Service, said that the main driver for the gale and storm-force winds was a “large, deep, slow-moving low-pressure system moving by to our north”.

Mr Smith said the same system was responsible for bringing similar winds and snow to the United States.

He said a gale warning remained in effect through this afternoon.

Mr Smith added that winds between 51mph and 57mph, with gusts up to 74mph, are expected this evening.

He said there was also the chance of thunderstorms and the potential for hail.

Mr Smith added: “A storm warning has been issued for late Monday afternoon through Monday evening.

“A gale warning will then again be in effect for Monday night through Tuesday morning.”

Mr Smith said winds were expected to gradually ease tomorrow and Wednesday, before building again on Wednesday night.

He added: “Despite the more ‘normal’ conditions with only moderate winds on Wednesday, we expect a small-craft warning to be in effect for the remainder of the week.”

A damaged utility pole in Belmont, Warwick, was responsible for more than 800 power outages yesterday, according to Belco spokeswoman Kerry Judd.

Meanwhile, residents in Hamilton Parish suffered loss of power after a pole was damaged on Radnor Road at about 8am.

Mr Furbert said: “Belco was on the scene pretty fast and replaced the whole pole. So we’re quite grateful.”

According to the Windguru website, Bermuda suffered winds of between 35mph and 38mph yesterday, with stronger gusts.

Ms Judd said last night: All overhead-related planned work for tomorrow will likely be cancelled and crews will be assigned to storm response.”

On Saturday, ferry routes were suspended until further notice.

The Bermuda Government urged the public to use care and caution when travelling on the roads. The Emergency Measures Organisation is monitoring the weather.

This morning, the Transport Control Department confirmed that the emissions testing facility in St David’s had been damaged and was “unable to operate until repairs have been completed”.

A spokesman said: “It is unknown at this time when it will be safe to reopen the East End facility.”

Heavy waves from Winter Storm Riley lash Shelly Bay Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Force of nature: land and beach at Shelly Bay eroded by the waves (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Power out: the utility pole on Radnor Road in Hamilton Parish looking a little worse for wear (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Heavy waves from Winter Storm Riley lash Shelly Bay Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Heavy waves from Winter Storm Riley lash Shelly Bay Beach (Photograph by Akil Simmons)