Weather - News

Picking up after Paulette

  • Paulette aftermath: Harbour Road (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Proud of island: Renée Ming, the Minister of National Security (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Paulette aftermath: Harbour Road (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Paulette aftermath: Harrington Sound Road (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Paulette aftermath: Clearwater (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Paulette aftermath: Clearwater (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The island was “back up and running in record time” after Hurricane Paulette hit, the national security minister said yesterday.

Renée Ming said the storm left more than 25,000 homes out of almost 36,000 Belco customers without power hours after Paulette came ashore as a direct hit.

But she added “phenomenal” work by Belco crews brought the number down to fewer than 3,500 by yesterday afternoon. That number fell to 2,507 by 8pm last night.

Ms Ming also tackled fears about Tropical Storm Teddy, which was about 1,800 miles southeast of the island yesterday.

The United States National Hurricane Centre has predicted that Teddy will increase to a Category 3 hurricane later in the week — and early forecasts put it on a track to Bermuda.

But Ms Ming warned: “Much uncertainty remains — it’s too early to make any predictions.”

She said the Bermuda Weather Service would continue to monitor Teddy.

She appeared at a storm briefing with David Burt, the Premier, who said the island had “by and large fared well against the latest test that 2020 has brought us”.

Mr Burt added: “It is a source of some considerable pride in our island that less than 24 hours after a hurricane warning was dropped in our country, our main roads are clear, the airport is open, transport and other public services will resume tomorrow, and our children will shortly be returning to school.

“This speaks to our preparation, our leadership at various levels in this crisis, and the overarching desire of the people of Bermuda to always get to work.”

The Premier added that the public should remain on guard against Covid-19.

Ms Ming said the Perot Post Office test centre for travellers on Queen Street in Hamilton had restarted operations at 10am yesterday and that tests for the general population were likely to start again today.

Travellers with queries about the testing schedule were advised to call 444-2498.

Ms Ming said public schools would remain closed today, although staff would return to the job.

Pupils are expected to go back to the classroom tomorrow, when school buses will also restart.

Trash collection returned to its regular schedule today.

Advance polling for the October 1 election also started today and will run until Friday.

Polling stations are based at the Midland Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church, St Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church Hall in Hamilton, the National Sports Centre pavilion, and St Mary’s Church in Warwick.

On Saturday, advanced polling will be available for travellers, incapacitated voters and seniors aged 65 and over at the Bermuda College cafeteria in Paget, and St Mary’s Church in Warwick.

The island was spared serious damage by its first hit of the season, although Paulette littered roads with debris.

Ms Ming highlighted that traffic was “flowing fairly unhindered” yesterday after clean-up efforts by the Department of Parks and Public Works staff backed by soldiers from the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

She added the RBR was stood down last night.

Ms Ming said she was concerned by a video that showed two people diving into the waters off Admiralty House Park during the storm.

She added: “A lot of what we said, leading up to the hurricane, was to exercise caution and common sense. I don’t think I could have said it any different.”

Ms Ming said: “If they had got into some form of trouble, then one of our essential worker teams, whether the police or the regiment, would have had to come out and save those persons.”

Ms Ming said it was “an act that clearly didn’t have common sense”.

She added: “Hopefully as we move forward, caution and common sense become key words.”

To view the statements from the Minister of National Security and the Premier, click on the PDF links under “Related Media”