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Home SCIENCE Fortified Bermuda braces for powerful Hurricane Fiona

Fortified Bermuda braces for powerful Hurricane Fiona

In this handout photo courtesy of the US Air Force, an aircrew from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Missouri, flies a data collection mission to the Hurricane Fiona on September 22, 2022.

Beach chairs and umbrellas were put away, shop fronts were covered and a beacon lit up clouds rushing overhead as Bermuda braced Thursday for Hurricane Fiona, a powerful Category 4 storm that has left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean.

Wind and waves rose as darkness fell over the British mainland, with Bermudians fleeing to the safety of their sturdy homes ahead of the storm, whose center will pass more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to the west-northwest. of the island early. Friday, according to the Bermuda Weather Service.

Fiona remained a Category 4 storm, the second-highest level on the Saffir-Simpson scale, though Accuweather forecasters said it could be downgraded to a Category 3 when it passes Bermuda around 5 a.m. (0800 GMT). ).

With a storm of that strength and size, residents were taking no chances.

“This storm is going to be worse than the last one,” Richard Hartley, owner of the Torwood Home store in the capital, Hamilton, told AFP as he and his wife covered the store’s cedar-clad windows with sheet metal.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Fiona had maximum sustained winds near 130 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

Hurricane-force winds extend more than 70 miles from the eye of the storm, and tropical-storm-force winds out to 200 miles, the NHC said, forecasting up to four inches (10 centimeters) of rain and waves “large and destructive” and storm surges.

Outdoor furniture was removed and the windows were boarded up at the Henry VII Restaurant on Bermuda's south shore prior to the hurricane.

Outdoor furniture was removed and windows boarded up at the Henry VII restaurant on the south coast of Bermuda prior to Hurricane Fiona on September 22, 2022.

The island of some 64,000 people is no stranger to hurricanes, but it’s also small — just 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) — and one of the most remote places in the world, 640 miles from its closest neighbor, the United States. .

That means there’s nowhere to evacuate when a big storm hits.

“You have to live with it because you live here, you can’t run anywhere because it’s just a little island,” said JoeAnn Scott, a store worker in Hamilton.

Bermudians try to “enjoy it as it comes,” he said. “And pray and pray. That’s what we do, pray and celebrate,” she added with a laugh.

At Bermuda’s famed Horseshoe Bay beach, where onlookers came to gauge the waves and stretch their legs before a long night inside, resident Gina Maughan said the island would be ready.

“It’s always interesting to go down and see the waves,” he said, watching two kitesurfers take to the air.

“These guys are a little crazy,” he added.

Waves hit the shoreline at popular dive site Church Bay, Bermuda, ahead of Hurricane Fiona on September 22, 2022.

Waves hit the shoreline at popular dive site Church Bay, Bermuda, ahead of Hurricane Fiona on September 22, 2022.

Construction ‘built to last’

Due to the island’s isolation, preparations are taken seriously.

Many boats were pulled out of the water earlier in the week, outdoor furniture was moved inside, and storm shutters lining the windows in most homes were checked.

Public schools will be closed on Friday and the government announced that an emergency shelter will open. Buses and ferries had stopped running Thursday night.

The Royal Bermuda Regiment was on standby to help with clean-up operations, and Homeland Security Minister Michael Weeks implored residents to stay inside until the go-ahead was given.

“Please, Bermuda, no hanging around, no venturing to take photos, no reckless behavior,” he told a news conference.

In addition to setting out candles and food, some Bermudians also fetched buckets of water and filled bathtubs from tanks on the side of their homes ahead of expected power outages.

This image obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Fiona at 10:50 a.m. EDT (2:50 p.m. GMT) in S

This image obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Fiona at 10:50 EDT (1450 GMT) on September 22, 2022.

There is no fresh water source on the island so all the buildings have white lime washed roofs which are used to collect rainwater which is directed into tanks and pumped into the houses as the main water supply.

Bermuda, whose economy is fueled by international finance and tourism, is wealthy compared to most Caribbean countries, and structures must be built to strict planning codes to withstand storms. Some have done it for centuries.

“The building really is built to last, and we don’t see the devastation that the Caribbean has experienced over the years,” said the store owner’s wife, Elaine Murray.

Fiona killed four people in Puerto Rico earlier this week, according to US media, while one death was reported in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe and another in the Dominican Republic.

President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, a US territory still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria five years ago.

In the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader declared three eastern provinces as disaster zones.

A man boards a store in Hamilton, Bermuda on September 22, 2022 as Hurricane Fiona moves towards the Atlantic island.

A man boards a store in Hamilton, Bermuda, on September 22, 2022, as Hurricane Fiona moves toward the Atlantic island.

Farther north, in Bermuda, the islanders were quiet.

“I’ve been through a lot of hurricanes, so no, I’m not worried,” said resident Rochelle Jones.

But if things go wrong, Bermudians “will all come out together and help each other out,” he said.


Hurricane Fiona Heads for Bermuda, US Advises Citizens to Postpone Travel


© 2022 AFP

quotes: Bermuda reinforcements fortified for powerful Hurricane Fiona (2022, September 23) retrieved on September 23, 2022 from

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