Based on the latest Bermuda Weather Service update, Hurricane Paulette is currently a Category 1 storm, about 200 nautical miles to the east southeast of Bermuda, moving towards us.
Paulette is moving into an environment where further strengthening is likely.
As such, an intensification of Paulette to a Category 2 storm is expected, as it approaches the local area.
The area of hurricane-force winds is slightly smaller than previously predicted, so the duration of those hurricane winds is now forecast to be 7 hours – from 3AM to 10AM Monday morning.
Maximum winds of approximately 85 knots with gusts to 100 knots are anticipated 6AM on Monday morning, around the timing of the closest point of approach.
Confidence in the forecast track and intensity of Hurricane Paulette has increased since yesterday, and the Bermuda Weather Service expects to be observing sustained tropical storm force winds by the time of this press conference.
We expect a gradual increase in wind speeds from the north east tonight, reaching Hurricane force over the island from late tonight, and lasting until late morning on Monday.
Tropical Storm force winds are expected to abate by Monday evening.
Although the forecast is more confident for a direct hit, uncertainty remains for intensity and size of the wind field, so please keep monitoring www.weather.bm for the latest updates.
Earlier today, the EMO held a meeting and here are some key public reminders:
Schools are closed on Monday and Tuesday. The Ministry of Education will update parents and the public regarding the reopening of schools following a full assessment of all public school buildings.
The L.F. Wade International Airport will close at 6.00 p.m. today and reopen on Tuesday at noon.
The Causeway will close tonight at 9.00 p.m.
Once the storm has passed, and following an assessment of the bridge, it is anticipated that the Causeway will reopen either Monday night or Tuesday late morning. The public will be updated accordingly.
The Lamb Foggo Clinic is operational if persons require medical assistance.
All Government buildings will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. And if at all possible, Public Officers should continue working remotely on Tuesday. This is all dependent on whether individuals have not been affected by the hurricane.
Buses cease operating at 7.00 p.m. tonight.
All ferry service has been suspended until Wednesday.
The Government Shelter at CedarBridge is now open. We encourage anyone in need of this facility to please make your way there.
Regarding trash, Marsh Folly is closed.
The Tynes Bay Public drop off will close at 5.00 p.m. today.
These facilities will be assessed after the storm and the public will be advised about their reopening, particularly as it relates to Marsh Folly as residents may need to discard horticultural waste.
Another reminder regarding trash, please do not put your trash out today, tomorrow or Tuesday.
It’s anticipated that Wednesday will be the next collection day for those residents who usually have their waste picked up that day.
As a note, our EMO Operations Group will be located at the Hamilton Fire Station and anyone who needs to report any storm related damages can call 261-4366 or (261-4EMO).
The Emergency Broadcast Station - 100.1fm will be operational as of 7.00 p.m. this evening and will be sharing key information and updates from the EMO, BELCO and other critical services.
The COVID – 19 testing has been suspended for today and tomorrow.
Advanced Polling has been suspended tomorrow and Tuesday and will resume on Wednesday September 15.
Lastly, we are very cognizant of the anxiety and concern that people experience with an approaching storm.
Against the backdrop of what we are dealing with as a country with COVID-19, I want to assure the community that this Government is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that Bermuda is safe, secure and protected as we prepare to deal with Hurricane Paulette.
We know that for some this can be an overwhelming time.
So should anyone wish to seek support or comfort as we navigate through this, they can call the Emotional Well-being Hotline at 543-1111.
To all of our residents – again, we’re still in a pandemic.
Continue to exercise caution and common sense and please remember to engage in the right health and safety activities during this storm.
The EMO will meet again tomorrow following the hurricane and soon after its conclusion, we will provide another public update.