What main messages do you want to get out there to the public?
Create a hurricane preparedness plan and review it with your family before the start of every season (June 1st). Relevant information has been posted on our website during “Hurricane Preparedness Week”, which began on May 30th this year.
Where can people find out all your information? (Ie website, social media, radio, and other locations)
The Bermuda Weather Service distributes forecasts and other information through a wide variety of formats—on the web
(www.weather.bm), a dedicated TV channel on WOW and Cablevision, radio broadcasts and Facebook – www.facebook.com/BermudaWeatherService
Have you seen any trends in hurricanes over the past couple of years? What are the predictions for this year?
Over the past couple years we have seen less activity in the Atlantic Basin as a whole, but locally we have experienced quite a different story with the direct impacts of Fay and Gonzalo. This serves as a reminder that seasonal forecasts should be taken with a grain of salt, because it only takes one tropical cyclone to make it an active season. On average, the Atlantic will see 12 named storms, 6 of which become hurricanes and 2 intensify further into major hurricanes (Category 3+).
What should people watch out for? Should we be expecting heavy rain, stronger winds, minor flooding, colder weather, rougher seas etc?
Heavy rains and damaging winds represent principal elements of a tropical cyclone, but the greatest risk to life typically involves the sea. Even a system passing hundreds of miles away can send strong swells toward Bermuda.
What are the various warnings we should be aware of & how worried should we be?
The Bermuda Weather Service publishes “Tropical Update Bulletins” for every tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic. These are based on the National Hurricane Center forecast products, which are updated every 6 hours (or every 3 hours if under a Watch/Warning). Information is posted to our website and to the TV channels as well.
A “Watch” is issued when a tropical cyclone will possibly affect the island or marine area within the next 48 hours. A “Warning” is issued when conditions are expected within the next 36 hours.
When looking at the extended range forecast, if the center of a tropical cyclone is forecast to pass within 400nm of Bermuda in the next 72 hours, it will be deemed a “Potential Threat”. If the forecast center passes within 100nm within 72 hours, it is considered a “Threat”.
These different categories are designed to provide the public with the necessary lead time before the event occurs. However, some systems can develop and intensify very near Bermuda, requiring much quicker actions. Thus, it is important to always remain up to date with the latest BWS products.
What should home-owners be doing in preparation for this hurricane season?
Make sure your home is in good repair, with quality shutters and proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up windows and doors. Verify with your insurance provider that the home is covered for any potential hurricane damage. Have a hurricane supplies kit stocked with drinking water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries and a first aid kit.
Are there areas or neighborhoods in Bermuda that historically hail better in storms? Or areas that are more prone to get hit harder, or with more tornados?
Properties that are atop hills or exposed toward the predominant wind direction of the tropical cyclone will feel the brunt of the strongest winds. Low-lying properties near the ocean also have the threat of inundation, especially if maximum winds coincide with high tide.
What’s the one thing home owners should have ready for a hurricane?
A hurricane preparedness plan and always keep abreast of the various BWS products!