14 October 2016News

Bermuda starts clean up after worst hurricane in 13 years

Bermuda is starting a process of damage assessment and mopping up after taking a battering from the worst hurricane to hit the island in 13 years.

Initial reports from the Island described flooding in many places, along with downed power lines due to toppled trees and hurricane-force winds.

Bermuda’s Emergency Measures Organisation said in a statement that crews from the Ministry of Public Works, the Department of Parks and Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel have been deployed to start road clearing and making areas safe for crews from power company BELCO to work on restoring power to areas that had been hit by blackouts. Bermuda’s airport is being assessed for damage. In addition the Causeway is currently closed for repairs due to wave damage to the walls.

Hurricane Nicole made landfall in Bermuda during the late morning, local time, of October 13, 2016, as a Category 3 storm. The storm passed about 10 miles east of Bermuda, moving North-Eastward at 16 mph with a minimum central pressure of 961 mb and maximum sustained winds of 120 mph.

Catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide said that Nicole is now heading away from the Island, and that continued movement to the North-East is forecast along with an increase in forward speed in the next 24–48 hours. Gradual weakening is expected over the next few days as the centre of Nicole moves farther out to sea and into cooler waters.

“Hurricane Nicole—the strongest hurricane to impact Bermuda in 13 years since Fabian in 2003, the eye of which passed just West of the island—is the fourth storm to put Bermuda under a hurricane warning in the last three years,” said Scott Stransky, assistant vice president and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide.

“In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin passed 65 miles West-North-West of the island as a Category 2 storm after slamming into the Bahamas at Category 4 strength. Two 2014 storms prompted hurricane warnings for Bermuda; Fay, which caused widespread damage even though it was a relatively weak storm, and Hurricane Gonzalo, which made landfall in Bermuda as a Category 2 storm and caused millions of dollars in damage.”

Stransky added: “Nicole is a very large storm, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 70 miles outward from the centre and tropical storm–force winds extending up to 185 miles outward. At one time, Nicole’s eye reached around 50 miles in diameter; for comparison, Bermuda is approximately 22 miles wide.”