News

Humberto: the aftermath

  • Hurricane damage at the D&C Grill in Southampton (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • Battening down the hatches at Urban Cottage on Front Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Workmen prepare for the storm in Front Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • A Belco lineman prepares for the approach of Hurricane Humberto (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

At 8pm, power restoration continues, while schools have given their status for Friday after the overnight passage of Hurricane Humberto tore across the island — and buses will remain out of service tomorrow.

Belco reported that power restoration could take days, and drivers have been urged to keep off the roads tonight.

The Royal Gazette is regularly updating our report on the storm’s impact and the island’s recovery.

Send updates and photographs from your area to news@royalgazette.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more news and pictures.

<8pm: Belco said 16,448 remained without power as of 7pm, with 56 per cent restored.

The work is likely to take another four days until all have their lights back on.

A spokesman added: “Our crews are making good progress, but there are challenges. Much of the damage caused by Hurricane Humberto is making it difficult to quickly and easily restore large areas at a time, so crews are working methodically, as fast as they can, to reroute lines and replace infrastructure as needed.

The utility asked for the public’s patience as work continues.

6.45pm: There were still 20,628 customers without power, Belco said early this afternoon.

Buses will not run tomorrow for safety reasons, with the depot at Palmetto Road with no power this evening. Updates on the bus service will be given tomorrow afternoon.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said he was “imploring motorists to use good judgment and common sense and please stay off the roads tonight”.

As evening neared, he said teams are “working around the clock” to restore power and remove debris and wires from the roads.

Government schools will stay closed tomorrow.

Bermuda High School reported “quite a bit of damage” and will be closed. Warwick Academy will be closed until Monday.

Somersfield Academy, which has not been damaged, is open for classes tomorrow. Mount Saint Agnes Academy and the Bermuda Institute will both be open tomorrow.

Saltus avoided damage but opted to remain shut until Monday as cleanups continue.

In a Ministry of National Security update, one person is in police custody for burgling buses.

Somerset Police are working out of alternative accommodation after the station at the West End took damage.

Buses remain out of service because of continued assessment of the roads and bus depots. A decision on the resumption of service is to be shared later today.

Ferries will resume tomorrow.

Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security, said: “Every resident came together in the face of the impending hurricane, doing their part to ensure their families, friends, neighbours and homes were ready and prepared for this storm.

“This is the true Bermudian spirit of support and resilience that we are known for. So thank you to you for preparing yourselves, heeding the advisories and coming together after the storm to help your fellow Bermudians in need.”

Reports came in on three structural fires, plus a propane leak at the airport which was contained.

The fire service got reports of 17 “minor incidents” as a result of the storm.

There were 11 medical reports and 20 reports made of roofs damaged, as well as a sinking boat, which was saved.

Friday collection of trash will go ahead, but there is no collection for today. Residents who normally had Thursday collection will get service on Saturday.

Tynes Bay is open for dropping off waste until 7pm, and will open again from 7am to 7pm tomorrow.

Marsh Folly is waiving tipping fees for the disposal of trees, wood waste and foliage.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment remains embodied.

Beaches are open again — but lifeguards are not on duty, and swimmers were reminded to use caution.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority reported all Bermuda’s hotel properties were “operational and ready to welcome guests”.

All Bermuda Visitor Services Centres will reopen tomorrow.

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital’s acute care wing sustained some roof damage, and there was minor damage reported for the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

Lamb Foggo Urgent Care in St David’s dealt with three persons who suffered hurricane related injuries.

12.30pm: The Causeway is back open, according to Wayne Caines.

Mr Caines commended emergency teams, with the Royal Bermuda Regiment collaborating with Belco teams and Works and Engineering staff.

He called the island “bloodied but unbowed”.

Mr Caines added: “We went through a difficult night, and as soon as the sun came up we have assessed damage. There is structural damage around the island that will be quantified in time. The good news is there was no loss of life.”

There were still 22,000 homes without power.

Mr Caines confirmed that CedarBridge Academy in Devonshire, where 49 people availed themselves of the emergency shelter, had sustained storm damage that would be fixed “in short order”. The emergency shelter was not affected.

Government schools are “definitely” closed tomorrow, but government offices will open.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Measures Organisation is readying to meet on Monday to assess the threat to the island from Jerry, the new hurricane that has formed near the Caribbean.

Early forecasts have the storm hooking north, potentially approaching the island next week.

11.30am: The Corporation of Hamilton reported “no major issues” — but has asked the public to avoid the city before noon.

Downed trees, leaf debris and other foliage were being cleared from the streets this morning.

A spokeswoman added: “There are no poles or wires down in the city but there is hoarding down in the area of the old Canadian Hotel and the Spurling property on Brunswick Street.

“Crews have been deployed throughout the city and we anticipate the city to be ready at 12pm.”

She added that waste collection would resume in the city tonight. Sewage pump stations are all up and running, and all traffic lights are working at major junctions except at the junction of Cedar Avenue and Dundonald Street.

10am:LF Wade International Airport was being checked over this morning; the airport’s web site is listing some cancellations.

Travellers should check individual flights online as some delays to today’s flights were not showing on the LF Wade International site as of 10.30am.

8.30am: David Burt, the Premier, urged the public to co-operate with emergency services as the cleanup commences.

Mr Burt said: “We’ve made it through and everyone is safe. That’s what is most important. The advance notice from the Bermuda Weather Service and the clear advisories from the Ministry of National Security allowed Bermuda to prepare for this storm.

“In this clean-up phase, I urge everyone to co-operate with the emergency and security services so that we can return the island to normal operations. This is the time to check on our seniors as well as those who may live alone to make sure they’re fine and have any assistance necessary.”

Noting the birth of a healthy baby girl last night, the Premier added: “Congratulations to those parents whose new arrival provided a welcome note of joy in the midst of the storm.”

8.15am: BF&M have announced that their offices will be shut until the EMO determines the roads are safe to travel — but a skeleton crew are in the office to take claims by phone.

7.50am: Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, said the Causeway has not yet been reopened to the public.

Mr Caines said: “Structural engineers are currently examining the surface of the Causeway and will then conduct an underwater assessment.”

Government offices and schools will remain closed today.

“The public is asked to stay off the roads to give emergency services the time needed to continue clearing the roads,” Mr Caines added. “Many roads have power lines dangerously low and the public is urged to stay inside.”

Belco staff are assessing circuits as they begin the work to restore power to the 28,000 homes plunged into darkness by outages last night.

A further update will be made at 11am.

6am: Hurricane Humberto was 250 miles northeast of the island and is expected to begin to weaken today.

According to the Bermuda Weather Service, conditions on the island are expected to rapidly improve as the distance between the storm and Bermuda grows.

The BWS said: “Skies will brighten, the humidity will remain in the 70s and cooler moderate northwest winds will gradually veer north by tonight.

“Although Radar shows an extensive area of showers to our north, some of this will dissipate before reaching the island.”

3am: The Bermuda Weather Service lifts the Tropical Storm warning as Humberto is tracked 195 miles north-northwest of Bermuda.

The National Hurricane Centre said: “Large swells and dangerous surf generated by Humberto will continue along the coast of Bermuda through today, and these could continue to cause coastal flooding.”

1.15am: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said the Tropical Storm warning may be lifted at 3am as winds have already fallen below tropical storm level in areas of the island.

A small craft warning would remain in effect.

1am: A Ministry of National Security spokeswoman said early responders will start moving around Bermuda to assess and begin clearing the roads at first light.

The spokeswoman said: “In the interest of the safety of the emergency personnel, no assessments will be undertaken before daylight.

“Reports have been received by emergency services of downed trees and power lines. For their own safety, residents are urged to stay off the roads which will also give emergency services the time to do their jobs.

“The priority will be clearing major roads at each end of the island going to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.”

As of Midnight, the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service received 45 calls, including 16 automatic fire alarms, 17 minor incidents such as gas leaks and transformer fires, nine medical calls and three non-serious structural fires.

11.55pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports that Humberto is 130 miles north-northeast of Bermuda, travelling northeast at 23mph.

The service said: “Tropical-storm-force winds will persist on Bermuda into late Thursday morning.

“Humberto may bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through Thursday, with rainfall accumulations of 2in to 4in with maximum amounts of 6in expected.”

11.33pm: The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds had fallen to 35mph, while gusts had fallen to 50mph.

11.30pm: Wayne Caines, Minister on National Security, said Government would make a statement about the condition of the island at 7.30am.

Mr Caines said: “The closest point of approach for Hurricane Humberto has passed. The winds are still very high so we are suggesting everyone stay inside.

“Tomorrow morning, at approximately 7.30am, we will give an update to share with you how Bermuda fared the storm.”

He thanked the island’s emergency services for their hard work throughout the storm and urged the public to continue to listen to the Emergency Broadcast Station at 100.1FM.

Mr Caines added: “This has been a rough 24 hours, but I know together we can make it through it.”

11.20pm: The Bermuda Weather Service has ended the Hurricane Warning, however the Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect.

10.45pm: Power outages now affect 28,515 Belco customers — about 80 per cent of the island.

A Belco spokeswoman urged the public to stay off the roads early Thursday morning because there are downed trees and power lines.

10.35pm: Emergency services has received reports that a portion of the roof of Somerset Police Station has been blown off — all officers are safe and a full assessment of the damage will be made when the winds subside.

A report has also been received that a portion of the roof of Island Glass on Serpentine Road has been damaged.

10.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said winds have begun to ease across the island as Humberto moves away from Bermuda.

Tropical Storm Force winds are however expected to continue around 4am or 5am.

Winds are now tending to veer into the west with further veering into the west-northwest later tonight.

10pm: According to Government, there has been a report of damaged windows at the CedarBridge Academy shelter near the library where staff were located.

There are no injuries and all staff have been relocated. There are 46 members of the public who are at the shelter with 30 support staff from different agencies. Everyone is safe and secure.

Meanwhile King Edward VII Memorial Hospital has reported the delivery of a healthy baby girl earlier this evening.

9.45pm: 28,495 Belco powers have lost power, according to the company.

9.30pm: Eight homes are reported damaged in the West End, while a propane gas leak is reported at Caesar’s Pharmacy on Main Road, Somerset.

Government also reports a car got stuck in the area of Stokes Point Road, St George’s, and a road was blocked west of the Port Royal Fire Station.

A report of a boat in distress was made but Harbour Radio reported that the single occupant on-board is safe, on land and uninjured.

9.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Hurricane Humberto had passed its closest point of approach and conditions would improve slowly.

9pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Hurricane Humberto is 75 miles north of Bermuda and moving east-northeast at 20mph.

The NHC said: “Hurricane conditions are occurring on Bermuda and should continue for a few more hours. Tropical-storm-force winds will persist on Bermuda into late Thursday morning.”

The service’s 9pm update added: “An automated station at Pearl Island recently reported sustained winds of 100mph and a wind gust of 123mph.

“LF Wade International Airport recently reported a wind gust of 115mph.”

8.45pm: 27,730 homes are now without power according to Belco, but the company has said they will begin restoration work as soon as possible.

8.31pm: The Bermuda Weather Service records sustained winds of 81mph and gusts of 114mph.

8.15pm: The eye of the storm is around 92 miles away from the island, and sections of the island have recorded sustained hurricane-strength winds.

James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said: “We are in the worst of it right now. The pressure is bottoming out.”

7.45pm: More than 21,000 Belco customers — just under 60 per cent of all Belco customers — have lost power.

7.15pm: James Dodgson, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said Commissioner’s Point has recorded a gust of 115mph.

6.55pm: The Bermuda Weather Service has recorded winds of 53mph and gusts reaching 74mph.

6.50pm: Belco confirms that more than 16,000 homes have lost power across the island, but they urged the public not to call in to report outages unless there is an emergency.

6.40pm: Wayne Caines, Minister of National Security, has again warned the public to stay inside after reports of people on the roads and on South Shore.

6.30pm: Belco’s outage map now lists more than 10,000 customers without power.

6.15pm: The Bermuda Weather Service said Humberto is still on track to pass 90 miles from the island at 8pm.

6pm: The Causeway has been closed to traffic.

5.50pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Hurricane Humberto is 100 miles west-northwest of Bermuda and has maintained Category 3 strength.

The NHC said: “An amateur radio operator at Ports Island near the southern end of Bermuda reported a sustained wind of 75mph and a gust to 104mph during the past hour.

“An amateur radio operator in Somerset Village recently reported a sustained wind of 70mph and a gust to 89mph.”

5.40pm: Another rash of outages increased the number of Belco customers without power to more than 5,000.

5pm: More than 2,000 Belco customers have lost power in scattered areas around the island, according to the company’s website.

4.55pm: The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds of 39mph and gusts reaching 55mph.

4pm: British Airways has confirmed that it intends to run flights between Bermuda and London tomorrow, provided that LF Wade International Airport is open tomorrow afternoon as expected.

3.55pm:The Bermuda Weather Service reports sustained winds of 30mph and gusts reaching 46mph.

3pm: The National Hurricane Centre reports Humberto, now 140 miles west of the island, is still a Category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120mph.

The NHC said: “Outside preparations are becoming difficult or dangerous and should be completed soon.”

A gust of 51mph has been reported at LF Wade International Airport.

12.50pm: Severe flooding has been reported on South Road, Warwick, near Swizzle Inn.

12.49pm: The BIU Gas Station is closing at 3pm and will reopen on Friday morning at the usual time. The BIU offices will close at 1pm and reopen at 9am on Friday. The Bermuda Credit Union Co-op Society will close at 1pm and reopen on Friday morning at 9.30am.

12.30pm: The Bermuda Weather Service warns that Humberto is a “big hurricane” which will bring very strong winds, high seas and swells and possible tornadoes. But national disaster co-ordinator Steve Cosham notes the storm is “brushing us” and he does not expect major damage.

12.30pm: The public must be off the roads by 5pm and the Causeway will shut at 6pm, the Government announces at a press conference. The shelter at CedarBridge Academy will open at 4pm. All evening flights are cancelled.

12.15pm: The last operating buses on all routes will depart at 3pm, according to the Department of Public transportation.

Noon: Humberto, a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 121mph, is now 193 miles west of Bermuda, moving at 16mph. It is expected to come within 90 miles of the island at 8pm

9am: Humberto, a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 115mph, is now 249 miles west of Bermuda, moving at 16mph. It is expected to come within 101 miles of the island at 7pm

Overnight on Tuesday: Heavy rain lashes Bermuda and leads to flooding in areas all over the island.