Schools to close, government services restricted as TS Alex brings 60 knot gusts
Schools will be closed and government services restricted today as Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the year, passes the island.
The Bermuda Weather Service said the closest point of approach to Bermuda is forecast to be 100 miles to the north-northwest at 9am today.
At 6.45am today the BWS posted on Facebook: “Good morning Bermuda – we have been experiencing tropical storm force winds as TS Alex moves northwest of the island.
“Elevated and exposed instruments have reported sustained winds reaching 47 knots with a gust to 60 knots in the last few hours. The latest advisory at 6am still has us on the cusp of 50 knots in the next few hours.
“The bulk of Alex’s rain bands are now through us, so expect a drier morning. Stay safe Bermuda, and up to date at www.weather.bm”
Do you have pictures or videos of TS Alex? If so, please send them to email@example.com. Please ensure you stay safe if you are taking pictures or videos!
Michael Weeks, the national security minister, held a meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation yesterday and later confirmed there would be service disruptions.
Mr Weeks said the EMO agencies were “mobilised, ready and prepared“. He said ”out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public safety“, government services will start at 1pm today following the passage of the storm.
He said all public schools will be closed and that public transportation – buses and ferries – will be suspended this morning.
He said that the AA2830 flight to Miami today had been cancelled along with the AA825 to Philadelphia and the AA2044 to Charlotte.
Inspect and ensure roof, windows, shutters, and doors are in good order and make any necessary repairs.
Review family hurricane plans and update family members with any changes to phone numbers and other important information.
Take stock of all medical prescriptions family members and pets require and ensure there are at least two weeks worth of supplies on hand.
Check hurricane kit(s) to make sure they have working flashlights, a portable radio with spare batteries and a stock of non-perishable food to last for seven days.
Ensure home insurance policies are up to date.
Visit vulnerable neighbours and ask them if they need any help with their preparations.
Mr Weeks encouraged travellers to contact their respective airlines for more information. The Causeway will remain open but conditions will continue to be monitored, he said.
Last night Saltus head Deryn Lavell e-mailed parents to say: “We have just received advisement from the Minister of Education that the EMO has advised all public schools to close tomorrow due to Tropical Storm Alex. The private schools will be following the same guidance and will be closed tomorrow.
“We are anticipating a full return to school on Tuesday, June 7. Meanwhile, stay safe and dry tomorrow. If there is any change, we will let you know via SaltusLive, our website and our social media accounts.”
A spokeswoman for Warwick Academy said last night: “Following the announcement that Government Schools will be closed tomorrow, Warwick Academy will be closed tomorrow.”
And yesterday a Bermuda College spokeswoman added: “Due to the approach of Tropical Storm Alex, Bermuda College will be following Government’s lead and opening at 1pm tomorrow, Monday, June 6.
“An update will be provided in the morning with further details as needed.”
BHS head Linda Parker e-mailed parents: “Due to the expected impact of Tropical Storm Alex, Government has announced that all public schools will be closed tomorrow. In consultation with the other private schools, BHS will also be closed tomorrow.
“Monday's exams for Secondary/IB students will be rescheduled and further information will be communicated via e-mail.
“We anticipate reopening the school for a regular day on Tuesday but once Tropical Storm Alex has passed and we have assessed any damage to the School, we will be in contact with you about reopening.”
Yesterday, Somersfield also confirmed that it would be closing. “Somersfield Academy will be closed tomorrow due to the weather,” a spokesman said.
Belco advised that preparations were being made for the expected impact of the storm. The firm’s Crisis Management Team has met to discuss plans while Belco worksites where trenching was taking place were being prepared.
Motorists are advised to use caution when close to open trenches.
Belco president Wayne Caines said: “Meteorologists have predicted an active storm season and it looks like we will be impacted by the first named storm of the year.
“I am confident our staff are well prepared for any impacts from Tropical Storm Alex and I encourage the public to make their preparations now, stay safe during the storm and proceed with caution around the work currently taking place in various parts of the island to upgrade our transmission and distribution system.
“The public can also visit the Belco website where there is helpful information on hurricane safety plans, tips and advice to keep their family and property safe.”
Trees and foliage hitting power lines are the number one reason for power outages, especially during hurricanes, and these outages are entirely preventable. Now is the time for property owners to trim their trees at a minimum of ten feet away from power lines to prevent an outage. It is important to be safe while trimming your trees. Members of the public can call Belco on 299-2800 to schedule a power shutdown for tree trimming. Belco ask that members of the public arrange this three week in advance.
Safety first. Always assume a downed wire is live. Never approach a downed wire, don’t try to move it or touch it.
Reporting outages: Customers with AMI meters will already be logged as having an outage. Other customers are asked not to call to report an outage until Belco has asked you to do so.
On the restoration of power, it is prudent to use lights only and have voltages checked by qualified personnel before plugging-in sensitive and expensive equipment.
Remember, before the onset of high winds, ensure you unplug any appliances, electronics, or other sensitive equipment. While plug-in surge protectors protect against common, small surges, unplugging is the safest bet for lightning surges that may occur during a storm.
Keep out of the way of Belco crews as they work.
Customers can always check on outages and restoration efforts in their area by visiting www.belco.bm and accessing the outage map.
If you are a medical priority customer, please speak to your doctor now about a plan in the case of a power outage from a storm. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee electricity for the duration of the storm and you may need to make alternative arrangements.