15 October 2014News

Hurricane Gonzalo to hit Bermuda: AIR

After reaching hurricane-speed winds more quickly than forecast and deviating its course, Hurricane Gonzalo is set to hit Bermuda.

This is according to catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide, which said that the category 2 storm is expected to take a turn to the northeast and set a course for Bermuda.

The storm passed through the eastern Caribbean on a northwest course, further east than initially forecast, delivering heavy wind and rain to Antigua and other close-by islands.

Near St. Martin, Gonzalo achieved hurricane-speed winds and continued to strengthen—more quickly than forecast.  It is now a Category 2 storm with 110 mph maximum sustained winds and a minimum pressure of 973 mb.

“Direct damage from wind thus far has been isolated to roofing, with reports of some structures having complete damage to the roof,” said Scott Stransky, manager and principal scientist at AIR Worldwide. “Additionally, there have been reports of felled trees and power outages, primarily on Antigua. Aside from wind, the storm is expected to produce up to a foot of rainfall in some areas.”

AIR said that the potential for structural damage from hurricanes in the Caribbean region varies widely from moderate to high vulnerability, depending both on building codes and building code enforcement.

“Bermuda (as well as the Bahamas and Puerto Rico), benefits from strong building codes and rigorous enforcement, and thus has lower vulnerability,” said AIR.