Hurricane Fiona, a Category 4 storm, continues its track towards the island and remains a threat to Bermuda. As of the noon forecast, Bermuda is under a Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch.
Minister of National Security the Hon. Michael Weeks started earlier today, we convened an Emergency Measures Organisation meeting to get the latest updates on Hurricane Fiona. Bermuda, considering this latest information, I want to stress that public safety is key.
Our emergency personnel will be mobilized to provide the most effective response during and after the storm. Based on the current forecast, we can expect deteriorating weather conditions late Thursday afternoon into the evening.
As it relates to public services, at this stage, here’s what I can advise:
- Government offices will be open tomorrow Thursday September 22, and government services will operate as normal until 5.00 p.m. The Causeway remains open, but will be closely monitored by the Ministry of Public Works.
- All schools will be in session tomorrow, Thursday September 22 for the full day. However, all public schools will be closed Friday, September 23.
As it relates to public transportation, the updates are as follows:
- Based on the current forecast, on Thursday September 22, the last bus will be at 9:00 pm and the service will stand down at 10.00 pm.
- Resumption of the bus service will be dependent on the roads being given the all clear.
- Pink Route – Hamilton/Paget/Warwick
The last ferry departs Hamilton at 4:00pm on Thursday Sept. 22.
- Blue & Green Route – Hamilton Dockyard
The last ferry departs Hamilton at 4:10 pm Thursday Sept. 22.
The airport remains open, and some flights are scheduled as normal. We have been advised however that the Air Canada flight for Friday has been brought forward to Thursday.
As always, as it relates to flights, I encourage travellers to contact their respective airlines to stay abreast of the latest flight information.
Airport officials will monitor the facility during the storm and carry out an assessment of their operations following the passage of Hurricane Fiona.
Turning to beaches – as you heard from Michelle, this storm will cause significant above normal surf and surge.
The ocean and maritime conditions will be very dangerous.
The Parks Department will post high surf warning signs along our public beaches and parks from Somerset through to Coopers Island.
My public safety message to residents, visitors, daredevils, boaters and thrill seekers is simple – stay out of the water.
Please don’t put your lives and the lives of our lifeguards and emergency responders at risk.
In a similar vein, because of the surf and surge conditions associated with Fiona, we are anticipating some challenges for those living in low lying coastal areas. For those who normally experience storm surge and floodin during hurricanes can expect to see the same for hurricane Fiona.
Regarding trash collection, I am reminding residents not to put their garbage out on Friday, as there will be no trash collection. As a reminder, Wednesday’s waste is being collected tomorrow due to the holiday earlier this week and there will be no collection on Friday.
In the past few weeks, against the backdrop of an active hurricane season, we have been urging residents to get storm ready.
Yesterday we were asked by a member of the media what do we say to people who are fatigued by the preparedness messages. Well, quite simply, Bermuda has been successful in navigating serious storms in part thanks to being ready and prepared. Hurricane Fiona is a serious category 4 storm. It should be taken seriously.
The reality is that our hurricane seasons in recent years have been getting busier and more active. Storms by their very nature are unpredictable.
One of the best defenses we have is to make sure that we have what we need to get through these events. I know that going through a serious storm can cause considerable anxiety for our residents.
But I have confidence and faith that residents will heed the warnings and advisories to ensure that they and their loved ones remain safe.
Finally, I want to extend my thanks and appreciation to all our member agencies in the EMO for their tireless work and dedication. To all of Bermuda – please continue to stay safe. Please continue to look out for and take care of one another.
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