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Island braces for stormy weather

Waves crash into the shoreline (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The public was yesterday warned to prepare themselves and their homes for possible hurricane-force gusts tomorrow.

The Bermuda Weather Service said that winds could reach gale force with hurricane force gusts late tomorrow afternoon as a powerful low pressure system approaches the island from the west.

The BWS marine forecast at 6am today added the island could experience sustained winds of 40 to 50 knots, along with gusts of 65 to 70 knots, a slight weakening compared to earlier forecasts.

Seas inside the reef were forecast to reach 4ft to 7ft and seas of 18ft to 26ft were predicted outside the reef.

A gale warning will be in effect from late tomorrow morning until the afternoon.

A storm warning will be in effect from tomorrow afternoon and into the night.

The high winds were expected to ease over Friday and into Saturday.

A Government spokeswoman said: “With the Bermuda Weather Service forecasting gale and storm force winds this week, the Ministry of National Security is advising residents to take the necessary safety precautions around their homes.

“This includes securing any lawn furniture, outdoor potted plants, garbage bins or any other items that can be blown around during the high winds.”

Renee Ming, the national security minister, reminded the p that the BWS forecast gusts of up to 80mph tomorrow.

She added: “This is expected to be accompanied by heavy rain, thunder and hail in some instances.

“Public safety is key, and we’re encouraging residents to take the appropriate precautions to prevent potential injury or damage.”

Motorists were also asked to “exercise safety, care and caution” when using roads during the “inclement weather”.

Dennis Pimentel, the president of power firm Belco, said the company was prepared to deal with the impact of the rough weather.

He added: “In anticipation of potential hurricane force winds we have activated our Crisis Management Team and are preparing for the storm on Thursday.

“This includes positioning supplies and teams in advance to address any outages that may occur.

“Whatever the weather brings, we are prepared to address any issues that may occur as soon as it is safe to do so.”

A Belco spokesman said the public should always assume downed power lines were live and stay at least 35ft from them – and away from debris that could conceal them.

The public were also warned not to run away from downed power lines but to shuffle away with both feet on the ground.

Customers should also unplug electronics or sensitive equipment before high winds begin to protect them from power surges.

Businesses and residents in Hamilton were asked not to leave wheelie bins on sidewalks outside regular trash collection times.

A spokeswoman for the City of Hamilton said: “It is particularly important for businesses to adhere to this guidance during the coming days as extremely high winds are anticipated, with hurricane force winds forecast for Thursday.”

The corporation provided residents and business in the city with lidded bins free of charge to keep garbage contained.

The spokeswoman said: “The bins not only keep garbage free from rodents and other vermin, but they also serve to make the collection of the garbage easier as they can be lifted by the refuse trucks and their contents deposited into the truck hopper, thus minimising any injury to the refuse collectors.

“Bins must be stored away from the sidewalks so as to not impede pedestrian traffic and the sweeping of the sidewalks.

“Storing the bins can also increase their longevity. Any damaged bins with gaping holes or broken lids must be replaced by the owners.”

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Published January 27, 2021 at 8:02 am (Updated January 27, 2021 at 7:44 am)

Island braces for stormy weather

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