Log In

Reset Password

Island halts as Lee brings high winds and churning seas

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
A tropical storm warning in now in effect for Bermuda as Hurricane Lee approaches the island. Pictured at Astwood Park (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Hurricane Lee has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm as it makes its way to the island.

The Bermuda Weather Service’s 6am advisory reported the storm as being 257 miles to the southwest of the island moving at 8mph in a northerly direction.

Lee’s closest point of approach to Bermuda is forecast to be 155 miles to the west at midnight. It is packing winds of 98mph with gusts of 121mph.

Thursday 6am hurricane update (Image courtesy of Bermuda Weather Service)

Public schools will close today and tomorrow because of the storm, the Government announced yesterday.

Government services will operate as normal today and the Causeway will remain open, according to the Acting Minister of National Security, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch.

Giving an update at 3pm on the hurricane after a meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation executive at noon, Colonel Burch added that “out of abundance of caution” ferry services will be suspended today with an assessment made tomorrow.

He said buses will run to normal schedules today until 5.30pm, when operations will be suspended, with an assessment of routes carried out on tomorrow morning.

Flights at LF Wade International Airport will be suspended from noon today. The British Airways flight will not operate as previously reported. BermudAir will operate with a flight this morning to Boston and the airport will close at noon, reopening tomorrow.

Closures because of Hurricane Lee

Bermuda College confirmed that its campus will close today at 11.30am and all day tomorrow. Classes scheduled before 11.30am today will be conducted remotely by faculty.

A spokeswoman said: “An assessment of the facilities will take place after the passage of the storm, and updates will be provided over the weekend regarding the resumption of normal business operations and classes.”

The administrative offices of the Corporation of Hamilton in City Hall and at the Works Depot on Laffan Street will reopen on Monday.

Both art galleries in City Hall will also be closed throughout this duration.

A City spokeswoman said: “All City trash should be out for collection by midday tomorrow and all bins must be secured after this time. There will be no trash collection until after the storm has passed and it is safe to resume collection. There will be no further oil collection until after the storm.

“The City of Hamilton reminds City businesses to prepare early and secure their properties to minimise any damage. Anything that can become a potential projectile must be stored safely, including wheelie bins.

“The public are reminded that bringing household trash from outer parishes and dumping it in the City is illegal. Anyone caught dumping trash may be prosecuted. Trash collection in the City will resume once it is safe to do so.

“City parks will be closed from 4pm tomorrow and will reopen when safe to do so.”

All Butterfield banking centres will be closing at 2pm tomorrow.

ATMs at Collector’s Hill, Modern Mart, Somerset MarketPlace and the Somerset banking centre will be temporarily unavailable from tomorrow at noon.

The bank said it anticipates reopening its banking centres tomorrow at noon provided it is safe to do so.

Clients can continue to use Butterfield online in addition to contacting the call centre on 295-1111.

All Clarien Bank offices will close at 2pm today and reopen at noon tomorrow, after a safety inspection.

Customers are encouraged to use Clarien iBank where possible to complete online transactions. Wire cut-off time is noon today.

For more information, visit www.clarienbank.com.

Earlier the island was placed under a tropical storm warning, with Hurricane Lee approaching.

Colonel Burch said: ”I cannot stress enough that we must all take this storm seriously. In that regard, and in the interest of public safety, I am urging residents to move about the island cautiously, particularly on our roads.“

He was joined by Michelle Pitcher, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service.

She said: “It is a very large tropical storm. Already we have been experiencing rough seas, long-period swells, hazardous surf and rip currents.

“Those winds are expected to begin to impact our area in the morning on Thursday so we can start to see tropical-storm-force winds on Thursday in the marine area and on island. These winds are expected to increase throughout the day on Thursday and the height of Hurricane Lee as it is passing is expected to occur Thursday evening through the overnight.

“The highest winds we have forecast for the sustained 40 to 50 knots with gusts 65 knots and possibly occasionally 70 knots. The strongest sustained winds up to 50 knots and the strongest gusts up to 70 knots will be experienced mainly in the western marine area and any elevated or exposed areas of the island.

“The actual radii for the sustained 50 knots winds is still forecast to remain to our west out in the marine area. However, we have some isolated, stronger, heavier showers or thunderstorms that could bring winds up to 50 knots sustained to isolated areas in the marine area and on land.”

Ms Pitcher said that once the closest point of approach has passed, between midnight and 2am tomorrow morning, tropical-storm winds will persist into the first half of the afternoon. That means the island will experience tropical-storm-force winds for more than 24 hours.

However, once those winds start decreasing, there will be a “remarkable change” in the weather conditions from tomorrow night into Saturday morning.

There will be a peak of up to 30ft seas especially in the western areas and there will be about a foot of storm surge.

Ms Pitcher said the tropical storm warning is likely to continue into early Friday afternoon.

Colonel Burch said the community had been through a lot with back-to-back storms, adding: “I want to acknowledge the fatigue and concern many of you may be feeling right now. Going through serious storms can cause anxiety.

“Our resilience is our greatest strength. I encourage our community to come together and support each other as we navigate this latest storm.”

Belco prepared for Hurricane Lee

Belco has said it is prepared for Hurricane Lee. Its crisis management team has been meeting regularly to co-ordinate preparations ahead of the storm’s impacts. The team will continue to meet until the storm has passed and any damage to the grid infrastructure is repaired.

In the event of power outages, restoration crews will begin work as soon as it is declared safe to do so and continue until every customer has had power restored.

The public can get storm preparedness advice and updates on any outages on Belco’s website and social media pages on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

Wayne Caines, Belco president, said: “First and foremost I urge all residents to be safe during the storm.

“Our team is well prepared and closely monitoring the storm and our crisis management team will be meeting frequently until the threat has passed.

“I encourage the public to secure any loose items on their property and review their own hurricane safety plans as well as tips and advice on the Belco website to keep their family and property safe should Hurricane Lee impact Bermuda.”

Orange ferry route

The Orange route ferry services will be suspended today as of 2pm departing St George’s. All other routes are operating as scheduled today.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published September 14, 2023 at 8:01 am (Updated September 14, 2023 at 10:19 am)

Island halts as Lee brings high winds and churning seas

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon