Hurricane Earl continues its track towards the island and remains a threat to Bermuda. As of the noon day forecast, Bermuda remains under a Tropical Storm and Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning.
Earlier today, we convened an Emergency Measures Organisation meeting to get the latest updates on Hurricane Earl.
Bermuda, considering this latest information, I can advise that the Bermuda Police Service, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Parks Department, the Ministry of Public Works and BELCO have mobilized their resources in key areas around the island to ensure our safety and security, and to provide a rapid response following the passage of Hurricane Earl.
Based on the deteriorating weather conditions and out of an abundance of caution, we are encouraging motorists, commuters and the public to be off the roads by 8.00 p.m. tonight.
As it relates to public services, here’s what I can advise:
Government offices remain open today and government services are operating as normal until 5.00 p.m.
The Causeway remains open.
Turning to public transportation, regarding bus service, based on the current forecast the last run will be 8:00 pm and the service will stand down at 9.00 pm.
There will also be some ferry service interruptions:
➢ Blue Route – The last scheduled ferry is 5.00 p.m. today
➢ Green Route – The last scheduled ferry is at 5.20 p.m. today ➢ Pink Route – The last scheduled ferry is at 5.20 p.m. today ➢ Orange Route – There is no service today.
The intention is for buses to operate as per normal on Friday morning, pending an overnight assessment.
However, there may further disruptions to ferry services Friday morning.
The airport remains open, and flights are scheduled as normal, including today’s British Airways flight.
Travellers should contact their respective airlines to stay abreast of flight information. Tomorrow morning airport officials will carry out an assessment of their operations.
Turning to beaches – as you can currently see, the conditions are looking increasingly dangerous at our beaches.
As a public safety measure, the Parks Department has posted high surf warning signs along our south shore. So, we are again urging members of the public not to venture into the ocean under these dangerous conditions.
We are anticipating that Earl will cause some challenges for those living in low lying coastal areas with possible storm surge and flooding, so we are urging these residents to take the necessary safety precautions.
As we all know, our public schools are set to resume on Monday.
Following the passage of the storm, school custodian staff will inspect all public schools to ensure that all is clear.
Additionally, you will be aware that the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education have been working on coordinating the return to school testing.
School testing is scheduled to take place tomorrow per normal. Should there be any changes to the programme, the public will be updated accordingly.
Switching to the Government Shelter, with CedarBridge currently undergoing some renovations, the Government Shelter will be located at Harrington Sound Primary School. We are prepared and ready to assist residents should the need arise.
And a note about garbage. The Ministry of Public Works is asking residents not to put out any trash for collection this evening. Unsecured household garbage can become a vehicular obstacle and a litter nuisance in the event of high winds.
Residents are asked to keep household waste and recycling secure throughout the night and to wait until 7.30 a.m. Friday morning to place bagged waste and recycling out for collection in the scheduled east end zones.
Lastly, in the past few weeks, against the backdrop of an active hurricane season, we have been reminding and urging residents to get storm ready.
By now, your hurricane preparations should be either nearing completion or be complete.
I don’t have to remind you that storms by their very nature are unpredictable, so it’s critical to ensure that we are ready and prepared.
This means making sure we have ample storm supplies; enough food and medicine stocks; having a good supply of water; making sure we have secured our homes, properties, boats; and most of all checking in on our neighbours, particularly those most vulnerable among us to ensure that they have what they need to navigate this storm.
Finally, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all our member agencies in the EMO for their tireless work and dedication.
And as the Minister of National Security, I wish to extend my particular gratitude to all our emergency services and uniformed personnel who will be working throughout the night and into the early hours of tomorrow morning to make sure we stay safe and protected.
To all of Bermuda – please heed the official advisories during the storm’s passage, please stay indoors, and most of all, please be safe.
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