Bermuda is bracing itself for potentially the most powerful hurricane it has faced in 50 years. So far Gonzalo has all the characteristics of Hurricane Fabian which killed four people and caused $300m of damage to the island in 2003.
Currently fluctuating between a CAT 4 (wind speed up 156 mph) and a CAT 3 (wind speed up to 129 mph) around 590 miles away from here north of the Dominican Republic, Gonzalo is barrelling towards Bermuda and is anticipated to bring 27 hours of tropical storms beginning tomorrow afternoon and 8 hours of hurricane force winds beginning Friday lunchtime. It is currently expected to be a CAT 3 when it arrives, but hurricanes although predictable are also highly erratic in their behaviour.
The storm is moving directly towards Bermuda at a speed of 10 mph and it is expected to cause significant flooding and destruction. Bermudian’s and their homes are very resolute in hurricanes, but coming days after Tropical Storm Fay caused damage to roofs, felled hundreds of trees and brought down power lines, it is the last thing this little island, 640 miles from any landmass, needs.
Over a 1,000 homes are still without power including two blokes I work with. Roads are still shut and debris lays everywhere as the electric company and clean up crews work admirably to prevent debris becoming missiles this weekend.
My popularity reached Jimmy Savile proportions earlier this week when the other half remembered I was supposed to be off island this weekend. I had long planned to be at an old mate’s wedding in Hertfordshire on Friday and by a remarkable twist of fate I have a ticket for Bournemouth on Saturday!
Sadly I understand more about hurricanes and their unruly constellations than is healthy and whilst sat at Miami airport on Monday night I quickly went on line and booked my other half and our daughter onto my flight to Gatwick tomorrow night.
Not just a pretty face, and by Tuesday evening every plane seat off the island between yesterday and early next week had been sold. Adding to this hotel’s are booked across the island as locals seek sanctuary, and tourists overstay as they can’t get home.
The dilemma is that the BA flight has to leave here tomorrow and Gonzalo has picked up a bit of pace planning to blow the doors down much earlier than expected originally.
If the BA flight leaves here tomorrow night with us on it, it will be the last plane to depart before the airport locks down in preparation to receive Gonzalo.
The island is already in an emergency situation and schools are now shut and I only have to go into the office tomorrow morning to remove papers and personal items from my desk.
Meanwhile we will keep a very close eye on the BA flight leaving Gatwick tomorrow afternoon, because once it gets here, it will have to return to Blighty Friday morning.
This evening I spent most of it bringing in everything from outside and taking down pictures and breakables. Our landlord lives next door and early tomorrow he will start boarding the house up, and then we wait. Hopefully we won’t be here.
For the latest news on Hurricane Gonzalo keep checking the excellent Bernews here.