Weather - News

Paulette now a hurricane

  • A visitor braves the swells at Southlands as tropical storm Paulette grows into a Hurricane set to hit the island on Monday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
  • National security minister Renée Ming

Paulette has been upgraded to a hurricane as it continues to approach Bermuda.

Bermuda Weather Service forecaster Troy Anderson said in an update at 8am today: “Paulette is expected to be a dangerous hurricane when it approaches Bermuda late tonight and early Monday.

“Some further strengthening is possible when Paulette turns northeastward and moves away from Bermuda late Monday through Tuesday.”

Paulette’s closest point of approach is early on Monday when it is forecast to bring winds of about 90mph, with the potential for higher gusts, heavy rainfall and life-threatening storm surge.

Residents have been urged to brace themselves for up to nine hours of hurricane conditions.

Mr Anderson said: “Expect Paulette to continue to intensify on approach and passage. This will be a long duration event lasting at least 24 hours from Sunday through Monday with the cessation of tropical storm force winds on late Monday night.”

At noon today, Hurricane Paulette was 238 miles southeast of Bermuda and moving towards the island at 14mph.

The storm is expected to become a Category 2 hurricane before it passes within 25 miles of Bermuda — considered a direct hit — at about 6am on Monday.

David Burt, the Premier, said on Twitter late last night: “#Paulette has now been upgraded to a Hurricane. #Bermuda please ensure that you complete any preparations early tomorrow before the winds pick up in the afternoon.”

Mr Burt said the Emergency Measures Organisation would meet at 1pm today and a full update would be given at a press conference at 4pm.

Mark Guishard, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said yesterday afternoon: “If the forecast holds true, we can anticipate a direct hit by a Category 2 hurricane, and accordingly Bermuda is now under a hurricane warning.

“The public will need to prepare for a long duration of tropical storm force winds from an easterly direction beginning late Sunday afternoon and then ramping up to hurricane strength by the early hours of Monday morning.

“The hurricane conditions should last up to nine hours and will start to swing around to a westerly direction sometime after dawn on Monday.”

He added that “significant” storm surge potentially exceeding three feet was expected, with the strengthening winds coinciding with high tide.

Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security, said at a press conference at the Government’s AB Place media room yesterday afternoon: “Our weather experts indicate that this will be a sustained storm with serious winds, so we are asking people to ensure that their preparations are completed by tonight.

“And for public safety reasons we are urging people to be off the roads by 7pm on Sunday.

“For those individuals who are in low lying coastal areas please note that we are expecting considerable storm surge associated with this storm, so we are urging you to take the necessary safety precautions to protect you and your homes.”

Ms Ming noted Bermuda remains in the midst of a pandemic.

She said: “Please remember to exercise caution and common sense. Please remember to engage in the right health and safety activities during this storm.”

Ms Ming announced that public schools and Government buildings would be closed on Monday and Tuesday as a result of the storm.

She added that schools would be evaluated on Tuesday to decide when they will reopen, and the Ministry of Education would provide more information to parents and teachers.

She also said:

• The LF Wade International Airport will close at 6pm today and reopen on Tuesday at noon

• The Causeway will close to traffic at 9pm today and will not reopen until after an assessment is carried out

• The Lamb-Foggo Clinic in St David’s will be open if residents of St George’s or St David’s require medical assistance

• Public bus service will be suspended from 7pm today

• Government buildings will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, but public officers are asked to work remotely on Tuesday if possible

• Ferry service between Hamilton and Dockyard — the Blue Route — will be suspended from 10am today. The Hamilton Harbour ferry — the Pink Route — will be suspended from noon today. Ferry service is expected to resume on Wednesday

• The Government shelter at CedarBridge Academy will open at 3pm today

• Tynes Bay public trash drop off will close at 5pm today. The public are asked not to put out their trash for kerbside pick-up on Monday or Tuesday

• Covid-19 testing at Southside and the Perot Post Office will not take place on Monday. Evaluations will be made to determine if testing will resume on Tuesday. Appointments will be rescheduled and sent to travellers by the Ministry of Health after assessments are completed on Monday

• There will be no advanced polls on Monday or Tuesday. Following an assessment of the polling stations, the Parliamentary Registry Office will provide details on the resumption of advance polling.

Ms Ming added: “I am hopeful that we will provide you with as much information as we can to help you stay safe.

“That is the objective. We need you to stay safe. We want you to stay safe.

“Please listen to the instructions, follow the timings, keep your families safe, be prepared and we will get through this together.”

To read Renée Ming’s prepared remarks in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”