Larry on course to miss, but precautions still in force
High winds and heavy rain are expected today but the island is expected to escape the worst of Hurricane Larry, forecasters said.
The Bermuda Weather Service said yesterday a Tropical Storm Warning was in force and the Category 2 hurricane was still a potential threat.
But its closest point of approach is expected to be at 3pm today when it will be 162 miles to the east-southeast of the island.
Bermuda can expect to experience north north-easterly winds of 30 to 40mph with gusts possibly to 55mph, shifting to west-northwesterly during late in the afternoon. Scattered showers, and a chance of thunder are likely in the afternoon.
At 6am, Larry was 238 miles to the east southeast of the island, moving at 16mph in a north-northwesterly direction. It was packing winds of 95mph at its centre.
The BWS forecast said last night: “Expect deteriorating conditions tonight into Thursday with strengthening wind and showers while hazardous long period swells develop with dangerous surf and rip currents.
“Larry will quickly exit to the north-east, therefore conditions improve Thursday night and into Friday, though showers return to the area for the weekend.”
The US-based National Hurricane Centre said: “On the forecast track, the centre of Larry should pass east of Bermuda on Thursday, and move near or over south-eastern Newfoundland late Friday.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 110mph with higher gusts. Gradual weakening is forecast during the next couple of days, but Larry is expected to remain a hurricane during that time.
“Larry is a large hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 240 miles.”
Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, said conditions would be similar to a winter gale as Larry was still on track to pass well to the east of Bermuda.
Ms Ming said: “As this storm approaches, the conditions along the south shore beaches will be unsettled and dangerous.
“In that regard, the department of parks will be putting up ‘dangerous surf’ signs along the public beaches. So our public safety message continues to urge the public to use caution at our south shore beaches.
“At this stage, our advisories from yesterday remain the same. We do not anticipate any interruptions to Government services, and we continue to encourage residents to remain vigilant as we navigate through this very busy hurricane season.”
The parks department said it had stood down the lifeguard service at beaches because of the sea conditions.
A spokesman said an announcement would be made when the service restarts.
Hoteliers said they had taken no chances despite predictions that Larry would bypass the island.
Sebastian Maingourd, the general manager of The Loren at Pink Beach in Smiths, said that the resort had closed the outdoor restaurant and pools.
He added that the hotel had to be “extremely cautious” over hurricane warnings because its position on the South Shore provided little protection from storms.
Mr Maingourd said: “You never know exactly how the path can evolve or if the hurricane can become stronger.
“Some hotels might be located somewhere where they’re not so exposed, but, with us being on the South Shore and right on the water, we don’t have much room to play around.”
JT Martens, the manager of Grotto Bay in Hamilton Parish, said staff had prepared for tropical storm-level winds but had not implemented all of their hurricane precautions.
Mr Martens said staff had removed outdoor furniture and asked guests to keep their doors and windows closed.
He added: “Having done this for the last 27 years here – and, unfortunately, quite frequently as of recent times – this one is definitely not worrying me as much as many of the previous ones we have had.
“That said, we’re taking the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach.”
Mr Martens said that guests were comfortable at the hotel and not worried about the storm.
He added: “After all that we’ve gone through with Covid-19, the last thing we need is a major hurricane to do damage here, so let’s all pray for the forecasters to be correct.”