Bermuda faces power outages due to Hurricane Lee

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Bermuda has been put under a hurricane advisory in recent days due to its close proximity to Hurricane Lee. Following this development, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the acting Minister of National Security, issued a statement which announced the closure of schools due to bad weather conditions caused by Hurricane Lee.

The latest update from Bermuda though, has to do with the nation’s power grid, which is now under immense pressure due to developing weather systems cause by Hurricane Lee.

In its latest weather update, The Bermuda Weather Service stated that winds had steadily increased through the day, prior to Hurricane Lee’s closest point of approach. According to the 6pm advisory, Hurricane Lee will pass around 170 nm west of Bermuda at 10 pm, stated the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Lee is said to be moving faster and this increase in forward speed is the reason why it is believed that it will depart from Bermuda’s vicinity sooner than earlier expected. It is estimated that Hurricane Lee should pass Bermuda on Friday according to the latest reports.

The Bermuda Weather Service says: “We are in the height of the storm now so please stay safe out there.”

In a statement explaining the effect on the power grid, President of the Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO), Wayne Caines, stated that tropical storm force winds in excess of 55mph have been hitting Bermuda as Hurricane Lee passes to its west.

This has resulted in multiple outages, mostly due to the foliage and debris which hits wires due to strong gusts of wind, causing them to come in contact with each other and trip circuits.

Wayne Caines added that BELCO workers will continue to fix issues and outages in a quick and efficient manner as long as it is safe for them to do so. As of 6pm though, there were 4200 customers who were experiencing an outage and functioning without electricity.

As is evident, Bermuda is feeling the effects of Hurricane Lee, despite the fact that it’s closest point of approach to Bermuda is supposed to be at 12am on Friday.

As a result of the weather conditions, 955 downed power lines have been reported and that number is likely to change quickly as weather conditions persist.

Sandys, St George’s, Pembroke, Devonshire, Smiths, Warwick, Paget, Southampton and Hamilton are among the areas which are facing the most issues and outages. There has also been an uptake in videos made by the citizens of Bermuda, which show rough seas and incessant rain, brought about by Hurricane Lee.

The Government and the Bermuda Weather Service also released updates recently which reiterated that a Tropical Storm Warning remains in effect on the island.

Hurricane Lee, its position, progress and changes in speed or trajectory, are all being monitored constantly in an attempt to ensure the safety of citizens and infrastructure. Hurricane Lee is currently located approximately 212 nautical miles southwest of Bermuda, moving north at 12 knots, with maximum sustained winds of 80 knots and gusts of up to 100 knots.

In a statement in which he was addressing citizens, acting Minister of National Security, Lt. Colonel David Burch, OBE (Mil), said, “Your safety is our utmost concern. We strongly discourage motorists from being on the roads unless it is absolutely necessary.”

Interestingly enough, having said that, he also stated that contrary to popular belief, the Causeway would remain open.

The government has also asked citizens to remain vigilant and follow a set of precautions they have released in the interest of public safety:

  • Stay Indoors: Ensure your safety by staying indoors. High winds and seas pose significant risks.
  • Check on neighbors: Look out for one another, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Extend a helping hand to your neighbors to ensure their safety as well.
  • Listen to Authorities: Keep a close watch on updates from the Bermuda Weather Service and follow instructions from the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO).
  • Emergency Kit: Have an emergency kit prepared with essential supplies, including non-perishable food, water, flashlights, and a battery-operated radio.
  • East end residents: The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be operational from 8 pm tonight.
  • Road closure: South Road, between John Smith’s Bay and Watch Hill Park, has been closed. Motorists may use detours via Harrington Hundreds Road, Devil’s Hole Hill and Knapton Hill.

The Bermuda Weather Service has also warned that winds are expected to reach 40-50 knots (46-57 miles per hour) by this evening, with gusts of 65-70 knots (74-80 miles per hour).