Island at the ready for Tropical Storm Jerry
Bermuda could face 12 hours of tropical storm-force winds as Tropical Storm Jerry passes the island tonight and tomorrow morning.
James Dodgson, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said that while the storm is not expected to become a hurricane, more exposed areas could experience storm-force or even hurricane-force gusts.
Mr Dodgson said: “Those tropical storm-force winds, as it currently stands, are expected to develop during the mid to late part of the evening and continue through until the mid to late part of Wednesday morning. “We are not expecting Tropical Storm Jerry to develop into a hurricane. There’s a very, very low risk of that, so it will be a tropical storm — a very strong tropical storm.”
A tropical storm warning was in place for Jerry, which is forecast to pass 40 miles to the northwest of Bermuda tomorrow at 10am.
At 9pm last night, Jerry was 313 miles southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 63mph and gusts to 75mph. It was moving north-northwest at 6mph.
Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said public schools and government offices will open as usual today.
Buses and ferries will also run as usual, except for Orange Ferry to St George’s, but beaches are closed for swimming and water activities from today until tomorrow.
Mr Caines said the Emergency Measures Organisation will meet again this morning, and a press briefing to update the public about Jerry will take place at 12.30pm.
The minister said: “Out of an abundance of caution, we anticipate being able to provide exact times when the public should be off the roads Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, when there are increased winds.
“These measures may be put in place because Bermuda experienced a Category 3 hurricane last week. We recognise that for tropical storms some of these precautions would not normally take place.”
The minister added that because the storm is weaker than Humberto, some members of the public may be taking it lightly.
He said: “We at the EMO are not looking at it like this. We want to make sure that the public is at the highest state of readiness, make sure over the next 24 hours that we are doing everything that we did last week to make sure we are prepared.
“When you are driving on the roads, we want people to exercise caution.”
Shelly Leman, a Belco spokeswoman, said that as of yesterday afternoon the company has restored electricity to more than 26,000 homes in the wake of Humberto.
But she said the company could not guarantee everyone would have their power back before Jerry hits the island.
She said: “We are working from 8am to midnight — sometimes longer than midnight — in an effort to get everyone on as quickly as we can.
“We are finding that there has been much more destruction than we originally anticipated, so it’s taking a little bit longer.”
Ms Leman added that Belco staff have been joined in the restoration effort by five recent retirees and representatives from Algonquin Power, the prospective buyer of the energy provider.
And she urged the public to clear debris as much as safely possible before Tropical Storm Jerry to help reduce outages from that storm.
A 9pm update on the utility company’s website said that 2,733 customers were without power.
Mr Dodgson said that while some members of the public have raised concerns about Tropical Storm Karen and Tropical Storm Lorenzo, neither are considered threats to Bermuda right now.
He said: “The latest information I have on those two systems is they are not a threat to Bermuda at this time. We are focusing on Jerry.
“When it comes to Karen, it is expected to move northwards towards the island but then move away to the west, towards the East Coast, so it is not expected to impact Bermuda directly.
“As for Lorenzo, which is well to the southeast of us, that is expected to develop into a Tropical Storm, but it is expected to recurve in the central Atlantic, well to the east of Bermuda.”
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources advised that the Marine Resources and Fisheries office, on Coney Island Road, St George’s, is closed until power is restored.
The Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo and the Shorelands facility are without telephones.
Trash collection is expected to continue as normal today, but Government has not made any announcement about tomorrow.
And Marsh Folly is open for collection today from 7.30am until 4pm to collect trees/foliage — dumping fees have been waived.
Warren Jones, the chief executive of Polaris Holding Company, the parent company of Stevedoring Services, which operates the Hamilton docks, said the ports will be open for business today.
He added that a further update will be provided after the EMO meeting.