Widespread outages and transport disruption but worst of Idalia has gone
Storm Idalia knocked out power to thousands of homes today while a string of flights to the island have been cancelled.
Its closest point to the island has now passed, according the Bermuda Weather Service’s 6am update, and a tropical storm warning has been lifted.
Gale-force winds gusting to storm force had shifted to the north and northeast by late morning, as seen on the web camera at Commissioner’s Point in Dockyard.
As of 3pm, Idalia was 95 miles east-southeast of the island and on track to make a sharp turn to the north.
Earlier today the BWS said the storm would approach the island with its closest point forecast to be about 46 miles to the south of Bermuda at 6am.
Bermuda’s airport remained open, but all flights today between Bermuda and North America have been either cancelled or delayed.
The Delta Air Lines Atlanta flight was called off, along with JetBlue from Boston and New York JFK and LaGuardia, the BermudAir Boston and Westchester services, United Airlines from Newark, and the Air Canada Toronto flight.
The American Airlines connections to Charlotte, New York and Philadelphia have all been postponed until tomorrow.
This evening’s British Airways service from Heathrow is due to be delayed by 45 minutes.
Skyport, manager of LF Wade International Airport, said airlines gave notice that extra flights could be added to the regular Sunday schedule to accommodate disrupted passengers.
Ticketed passengers were advised to check with individual airlines.
Outages have fluctuated but have affected most of the island, with Pembroke faring the worst. The Eastern Counties Cup final has also fallen victim to Idalia.
Bus and ferry routes have both been affected by storm Idalia.
After being disrupted earlier today, a spokeswoman said: ‘This evening, Saturday, September 2, the Department of Public Transportation has advised that regular bus service (all routes) will resume tomorrow, Sunday, September 3 as per the schedule. For public bus schedule and updates visit www.gov.bm/bus.“
A spokeswoman for marine and ports said: “This morning the Department of Marine and Ports Services has advise that until current weather conditions improve all ferry services are suspended. The Department will advise when service will resume. For more invitation visit www.marineandports.bm.”
Shelly Leman, Belco’s managing director of transmission, distribution and retail, said: “Bermuda continues to be buffeted by strong winds and this has caused outages across the island.
“As of 12pm approximately 3,100 customers were without power. The vast majority of outages were caused by vegetation coming into contact with our overhead network.
“Belco crews are working as quickly and safely as possible to get power restored to all customers and I thank the public for their patience as this work continues.”
A Belco spokesman added: “Downed power lines pose an extreme danger and if a member of the public comes across a downed power line they should stay at least 33 feet or more away which is approximately three car lengths. Also be sure to unplug all sensitive electronics, appliances and equipment.
“The most important action residents and businesses can take to prevent outages is to ensure vegetation on their properties is trimmed at least ten feet away from Belco power lines.
“Belco does not offer a tree trimming service and ensuring trees on private property remain ten feet away from power lines is the sole responsibility of property owners.”
Idalia did not regain strength as a Tropical Storm as it passed Bermuda, but the island took bouts of rain and winds of 50mph were logged at LF Wade International Airport, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
The NHC said storm-force winds would continue to be felt by the island into this evening.
Michael Weeks, the national security minister, warned residents to take care on the roads.
“If you must move about the island, consider the persisting high winds with care and caution.”
He urged the community to heed updates from the BWS and from the Emergency Measures Organisation.
Mr Weeks added the Causeway would remain open today but would be monitored.
“While Idalia is on its way out, our commitment to your safety remains unwavering,” he said.
Seas remained dangerous, and swimming was “strongly discouraged”.
Red warning signs have been placed along the South Shore, with extra signs to be placed at the North Shore due to unsafe water conditions.
Lifeguards at Horseshoe Bay Beach have suspended operations for today.
Mr Weeks said further assessments today and tomorrow would determine when the lifeguard service could safely resume.
Idalia was a Category 4 storm at its height in the Gulf of Mexico but fell to a hurricane remnant after crossing Florida and the US southeast coast.
September and October are typically the most active of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the island was circled by several weather systems this week as Hurricane Franklin headed away.
Two other tropical storms, Gert and Katia, were out in the Atlantic this morning, but neither was ranked a threat to Bermuda.
• This story will be updated throughout the day