Residents were urged to brace for winter storm conditions later tonight as Hurricane Teddy passes to the east of the island over the next two days as large swells began to hit our shores with waves in excess of 20 feet.
Residents began posting pictures of the impact of large swells down at the east end this afternoon, particularly at Southside in St David’s.
Minister of National Security, Renée Ming issued the latest update at a news conference at 3:30pm after the latest Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) meeting, saying the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) has had a rethink on the closure of the Causeway, which will be closed as of midnight tonight.
The LF Wade International Airport will also close later tonight until Tuesday.
Hurricane Teddy’s closest point of approach to Bermuda has also been moved back from 3am Monday morning until later in the day, around 12 noon on Monday.
Winds up to 58 mph with gusts up to 75 mph are expected to pick up later tonight and last throughout Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Teddy remains a major storm and is still considered to be a threat to the island.
As of 3pm the storm was forecast to pass some 125 miles to the east of Bermuda by noon on Monday as a Category 2 hurricane and was situated some 275 miles south-southeast of the island, moving northwest at 9 mph with maximum sustained winds of 104 mph.
The EMO will be on duty from 7.30am to 7pm at the Hamilton Fire Station on Monday.
Joined by Kelly Trott from the Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation team, with Dr Mark Guishard of the Bermuda Weather Service ” (BWS) on the phone, the Minister stressed that there was “a change in the approach of Hurricane Teddy”.
On “Bermuda’s readiness for the impact” of this storm “passing by Bermuda”, she said: “Out of an abundance of caution, the EMO Operations Group will be stood up and will be operational from 9pm tonight.
“The Causeway will be closed from midnight tonight and will reopen following an assessment once the storm has passed.
“The LF Wade International Airport will close at 11pm tonight and reopen on Tuesday morning at 7am.
“The Emergency Broadcast Station, FM 100.1, will begin broadcasting starting at 9pm tonight.”
The Tynes Bay Public drop off closed at 7pm and will not be open until Monday.
The Government Shelter at CedarBridge Academy opened at 5pm this evening and “there will be a room available for persons who are oxygen dependent and may need assistance”.
On COVID-19 testing at the Southside facility will be closed on Monday along with the closure of the Perot testing facility and there will be “no testing” while the airport is closed to flights on Monday.
All travellers who were scheduled to be tested on Monday “will be rescheduled and will receive an email notification indicating the new date, time and location”.
They were advised to “contact the COVID-19 hotline at 441 444 2498 for assistance on their rescheduled times”.
The Minister also noted that “testing results may take up to 36 hours for Tuesday’s results due to the closure of the lab and the testing facilities”.
“All public schools will be closed on Monday, September 21. School staff, including teachers will be expected to work from home.
“Principals and custodians will conduct an assessment of schools once the all clear has been given, as instructed by the Commissioner of Education. All other staff are asked to refrain from entering school buildings to enable post storm cleanup and works to take place,” said Ms Ming.
“All Government buildings will be closed on Monday. However, Public Officers are expected to work remotely from home on Monday if possible and persons who are required to support restarts after storm activity should report to work as soon as it is safe to do so.
“To reiterate, the EMO Operations group will be on duty at the Hamilton Fire Station from 9pm tonight. If there is anyone who needs to report storm related damages, they can call 261-4366 or (261-4EMO). The public should call this number if they are aware of downed trees or power/utility lines so that road and debris clearance crews can remove them when it is safe to do so.”
She also urged “everyone to complete your storm preparations by this afternoon and to remain off the roads from 9pm this evening until the closest point of arrival has passed and the all clear has been given”
“I cannot emphasize enough that no-one should go into the waters during this storm,” said Ms Ming.
“The current high surf conditions and the conditions today and tomorrow are dangerous and life threatening to swimmers, and as such there will be no lifeguards on duty.
“Following the passage of Hurricane Teddy on Monday afternoon, our critical work crews from the Department of Parks, the Royal Bermuda Regiment and Ministry of Public Works will do an assessment of the roads and clear debris,” she added.
“We are asking the public to be mindful of these necessary works and to please, avoid travelling on the roads so that our teams can conduct their necessary works.
“In closing, I do want to remind everyone that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Please continue to exercise caution and common sense and please remember to engage in the right health and safety activities during this time. The EMO will meet again tomorrow at 3:00pm and following that meeting I will provide another public update.”