Bermuda is no stranger to hurricanes. From the storm in 1609 that sent the Sea Venture crashing into our reefs, they have been a part of life on the Island.
Hurricane Season runs from 1st June to 30th November, but recent data suggests that the chance of Bermuda being hit by a hurricane is highest in September and October. Hurricane Emily Bermuda’s worst hurricane for decades scored a direct hit on the island in 1987. Hurricane Erin 2001, Hurricane Fabian in 2003, Fay and Gonzalo in 2014 and Hurricane Florence brushed by in 2018.
The best way to keep on top of the latest news on tropical activity is to listen to the radio ‘Government Emergency Broadcast Station on FM 100.1’, watch the evening news, check the internet or get updates from Bermuda Weather Service. As of April 2019 the Department of Communications issued an App (which is free) for download onto your phone called ‘Bermuda Tree Frog’. This application will alert all users to news and alerts posted by the Bermuda Government, and includes any alerts posted by the Emergency Measures Organization that the public needs to be urgently aware of.
While any type of storm can cause damage, tropical storms and hurricanes are particularly dangerous. They both fall under the term ‘tropical cyclone’, for their circular air movement over warm, tropical waters. The difference is based on wind speed.
Once a storm watch or warning has been issued, and is within hours of its closest approach, it is recommended that you secure your house, property and vehicles based on the wind strength and direction details.
Hurricanes tend to form in the south east of the Atlantic and then move west towards to Caribbean and the southeast cost of the US. They then move north, following the path of the Gulf Stream, bypassing Bermuda.
Despite this, Bermuda is far better prepared for hurricanes than the US and most Caribbean islands. Strict building regulations ensure that all occupied buildings are built with stone or concrete. The vast majority of hurricanes result in minimal structural damage. There will usually be power outages (as many power lines are overhead) and damage to trees and vegetation. Only direct hits, very rare given the small size of the island, cause significant destruction. This time of year (August) is a good time to:
- Prepare and repair your house for hurricane season.
- Make sure your property and vehicle insurance are up to date.
- Look at your family plans and update them with any changes to phone numbers etc.
- Take stock of all medical prescriptions that your family and pets require and ensure you have at least 10 days supply on hand.
- Check your hurricane kit to make sure you have working flashlights, a portable radio with spare batteries, a supply of fresh water and a stock of non-perishable food to last your family for several days.
- Make sure your generator (if you have one) is in working condition.
- Visit your neighbours and ask them if they need any help with their preparations.
If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 332-1793. All questions will be treated confidentially.