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Teddy: prepare for ferocious conditions

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Bermuda is braced for high seas, tropical storm-force winds and severe rain as Hurricane Teddy passes to the east of the island.

The Government put a range of safety measures in place yesterday — including the closure of the Causeway at midnight and airport at 11pm — as the storm brought large swells to the island.

Waves of more than 20 feet lashed the south shore yesterday afternoon.

Winds of up to 58mph and gusts of up to 75mph were expected this morning.

Some homes lost power over the course of this morning, with the first outages reported shortly after 4am.

At 9.30am, more than 220 Belco customers had lost power according to the energy provider's outage website, with Hamilton Parish the worst affected.

Troy Anderson, a forecaster at the Bermuda Weather Service, said yesterday: “As Teddy gets closer, expect more ferocious seas to approach. Although a spectacle to see, please do not put yourself or anyone else in danger.”

Gale-force gusts and heavy showers were forecast overnight, with conditions expected to worsen as Teddy reached its closest point to the island — 120 miles to the east-southeast at noon today.

Mr Anderson said: “As hurricane-force winds extend outwards of 80 miles from the centre, preparations should be taken for the worst potential conditions.

“After the closest point of approach, expect winds to remain near gale-force strength as the front and trough to the northwest follow Teddy's exit into Tuesday.

“Dangerous seas and swell remain from the southeast then become confused shortly after Teddy's passage making for even more hazardous conditions.”

Teddy has decreased in intensity to a Category 2 storm, but its wind field has increased, with hurricane-force winds up to 70 miles from its eye and tropical storm-force winds out to 230 miles.

Teddy was 160 miles to the southeast of Bermuda at 9am and travelling north-northeast at 9mph.

It had maximum sustained winds of 98mph with gusts to 120mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect, but a hurricane warning could still be issued.

Mr Anderson warned: “Model guidance continues to favour a sideswipe from Teddy, rather than a direct hit. However, a wobble in the track or delay of the northward turn tonight could still result in a closer approaching storm and introduce hurricane-force winds.”

Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, released details of precautions yesterday.

These included:

• The Causeway will close from midnight tonight and will reopen following an assessment once the storm has passed

• The airport will close at 11pm and reopen on Tuesday at 7am

• The Emergency Measures Organisation's operations group was operational from 9pm yesterday

• The Emergency Broadcast Station, FM100.1, started broadcasting at 9pm

• Tynes Bay Public drop-off closed at 7pm last night and will not be open today. Waste dumps at the airport and at Marsh Folly will also be closed today

• The Government shelter at CedarBridge Academy opened at 5pm, including a room for people who require oxygen

Ms Ming told the public: “I urge everyone to complete your storm preparations by this afternoon and to remain off the roads from 9pm until the closest point of arrival has passed and the all clear has been given.

“I cannot emphasise enough that no one should go into the waters during this storm. The current high surf conditions and the conditions today and tomorrow are dangerous and life-threatening to swimmers, and as such there will be no lifeguards on duty.”

Mark Guishard, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “Waves and swell are produced by winds blowing across the surface of the water, and can build to extreme heights in a hurricane.”

Dr Guishard added that storm surge measured at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences was about six inches above the normal tide yesterday afternoon.

He said: “High tide is coincident with the closest point of approach, so we can expect storm surge of one to two feet, and waves outside the reef reaching 20 to 30 feet.”

Maximum wave heights near the centre of the hurricane have been measured at 42 feet.

Public schools will be closed today and open tomorrow, although teachers will be expected to work from home.

Principals and custodians will assess schools, but other staff are asked to avoid school buildings today to enable any clean-up to go ahead.

Government buildings will also be closed today, and the public sector will work on a remote basis from home if able to.

Ferries operated until noon yesterday and buses ran until 9pm. Both are out of service today, with normal commuter services are expected to restart tomorrow.

Anyone who has to report storm damage, or needs help with downed trees, power lines or debris blocking roads, should call 261-4366.

Ms Ming said: “Following the passage of Hurricane Teddy on Monday afternoon, our critical work crews from the Department of Parks, the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Ministry of Public Works will do an assessment of the roads and clear debris.

“We are asking the public to be mindful of these necessary works and to please, avoid travelling on the roads so that our teams can conduct their necessary works.”

She added Covid-19 also remained a threat and people should “exercise caution and common sense”.

Devonshire Bay late morning yesterday (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)
Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, at a press conference yesterday
Devonshire Bay late morning yesterday (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published September 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated September 21, 2020 at 4:38 pm)

Teddy: prepare for ferocious conditions

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