'We've Made It Through': Bermuda Endures Hurricane Humberto

Sep 19, 2019
Originally published on September 19, 2019 4:24 pm

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Hurricane Humberto knocked out the power for some 80% of Bermuda's electricity customers — but many of them now have power again, and government officials say they're relieved no one died when the Category 3 storm passed close to the island Wednesday night.

"We've made it through," Minister of National Security Wayne M. Caines said in an update Thursday morning.

Caines added that during the hurricane, emergency crews rescued a stranded boater in the harbor. A baby was also born during the storm.

Premier David Burt is calling on residents to check on their elderly neighbors and anyone who might need assistance. And like others in the government, he celebrated the news that a healthy baby girl had been born.

"Congratulations to those parents whose new arrival provided a welcome note of joy in the midst of the storm," Burt said in a statement about the hurricane.

Despite the damage, Bermuda's tourism authority said Thursday afternoon, "Bermuda is totally open for business and looking forward to welcoming all visitors as usual."

Humberto passed to the north and northwest of Bermuda, sparing the island a direct hit. But because of its large size — extending hurricane-force winds for 80 to 90 miles from its center — Humberto battered the island for hours as it moved past. And without a large land mass to sap its energy, the storm's maximum sustained winds hovered around 120 mph the entire time.

In one image from the island, a utility pole is seen snapped in half. In a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday night, sparks fly from electrical lines amid the gales. According to media outlet Bernews, the storm snatched a metal spectator stand from the Bermuda National Sports Centre and tossed it over the fence, leaving it in the road nearby.

More than 28,000 power customers had no service this morning. But as of Thursday afternoon, the BELCO power company said 18,579 customers had their electricity restored.

The Causeway — the road that connects the island's airport in the north to its most populous areas in the south — was closed Thursday morning. But it was reopened at noon, after engineers assessed its stability. Ferry service remains suspended, but it will be restored throughout the island on Friday, the tourism authority says.

Humberto's strong winds uprooted large trees, and government offices and schools are closed as workers rush to clear the roads.

"Along many roads, there are power lines hanging dangerously low," Caines says, adding, "The public is urged to stay inside."

Humberto is now spinning out over the open Atlantic, allowing officials to lift the most severe weather advisories. But Caines warns that people should stay off the roads to allow recovery crews time to clear debris and ensure that power lines don't pose a deadly hazard.

The Bermudan weather service says conditions will improve rapidly Thursday, with its forecast calling for cool winds and sunshine.

"Humberto is no longer a threat to Bermuda," the agency says.

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