Bermuda returning to normal; 653 homes without power at noon
Bermuda began to return to normal this morning after storm-force winds and hurricane force gusts battered the island last night.
All Government schools reopened this morning except Paget Primary which was without electricity.
Private schools are also believed to have all opened.
Belco said that as of noon there were 653 customers without power, down from 3,600 at 8am.
Customers without power were asked not to call 955 unless Belco wires had come down or there was a pole fire. Spokesperson Krista Barnes said the company would advise when to call 955 if customers remained without power.
She said: “Belco’s crisis management team will continue to meet and coordinate restoration efforts that will be ongoing throughout the day. Belco would like to thank the public for their patience as we continue to work to get power restored to all customers.
At noon, Belco’s outage map showed that there were a reduction in outages scattered across the whole island.
According to a Belco spokesman, outages by parish were as follows at noon:
St. George’s 58
Government spokeswoman Aderonke Bademosi Wilson said this morning that minibus services had been laid on for school bus runs. Normal bus service is scheduled to resume at 9am.
Ferry services are suspended until further notice.
The Bermuda Weather Service said in their 5.45am forecast: “Storm force winds have now subsided, but gales remain in the area as the deep low pressure to the north races away northeast.
“Frequent showers will continue to affect the area, possibly with isolated thunder and small hail this morning. Winds will continue to subside into the weekend. High seas begin to diminish very rough to high into tomorrow.”
Winds this morning are expected to be from the northwest and 35 to 45mph with gusts to 55mph, easing west-northwesterly 30 to 40mph gusts to 50mph this afternoon.
Scattered to widespread squally showers with fair to poor visibility are expected and there is a chance of thunder and small hail this morning. Seas inside the reef are expected to be three to six feet, while seas outside the reef are 20 to 30 feet and decreasing.
Temperatures are expected to drop today. A high of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Centigrade) and a low of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Centigrade) is predicted for today.
Tomorrow is expected to see a high of 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14C) and a low of 53 (12C).
Firefighters responded to 13 emergency calls during the storm.
A Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the incidents included five automatic alarms, six pole fires and an emergency medical call.
An emergency special service request was also made when someone was unable to secure a window in the high winds.
The spokesman added that pole fires were across the island including Somerset Road and West Side Road in Sandys, Mullet Bay Road in St George’s, Devon Spring Road and Middle Road in Devonshire, and Admiral Walk in Southampton.
Yesterday began with relative calm, but winds speeds increased significantly over the day and into the night as the winter storm passed over the island.
The Bermuda Weather Service reported 5mph winds from the north-northeast at 8am, but by 8pm observers recorded sustained winds of 48mph with gusts of 64mph.
James Dodgson, a forecaster with the BWS, said late last night the storm had behaved as expected, with storm force winds battering elevated and exposed parts of the island.
Mr Dodgson said: “Gusts are generally storm force across the island, but hurricane force offshore and across exposed or elevated island areas.”
He said Commissioner’s House in Dockyard, which has wind measuring equipment, had reported maximum sustained winds of 81mph with gusts of 108mph.
The airport reported gusts of 75mph and an offshore weather station to the north of the island recorded gusts of 82mph.
The Bermuda Marine Operations Centre said last night that at least one vessel – Island Spirit – had been torn from its moorings, but no other reports of problems with moored boats was reported by press time.
A BMOC spokesman said this morning that two other vessels, one in Riddells Bay, Warwick and the other in Coot Pond, St George’s were reported to be low in the water and another vessel in Dolly’s Bay, St David’s had dragged its moorings.
• UPDATE: This story has been updated to include the latest information from the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service and the noon update from Belco.