HAMILTON – The clean-up and damage assessment began in Bermuda today after Hurricane Nicole caused infrastructural damage, extensive flooding and knocked out power to most of the island’s homes. The good news, officials were reporting, was that there were no deaths or serious injuries.
Photos and videos emerging after the Category 3 Hurricane Nicole made landfall late Thursday morning and lashed the island for hours with winds up to 120 miles per hour and torrential rain, showed that it had uprooted and snapped trees, ripped off roofs, collapsed roads, toppled utility lines and caused significant flooding across the island.
“I don’t think any part of the island was spared the wrath of Nicole,” Premier Michael Dunkley told Reuters, adding that Bermuda was still “blessed” since, given the size and intensity of the hurricane, “it could have been much worse”.
He added that while damage was widespread, “it’s not significant where it’s going to take weeks and months” to recover.
The Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) was this morning still trying to restore power to most of its customers.
About 27,431 customers – about 90 per cent of BELCO’s customer base – were left without electricity at one point, BELCO reported, but restoration had started from Thursday.
National Security Minister Senator Jeffrey Baron said crews from the Ministry of Public Works, the Department of Parks and Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel have been deployed to start road clearing and making areas safe for BELCO crews to work on restoring power.
“As we continue to assess the damages around the Island I want to again make a plea to residents to please stay off the roads. We recognize that there has been significant flooding in areas around the Island and some severe road damages,” he said in a statement Thursday evening.
“Obviously, we are also concerned about downed trees and downed power lines which are live. So out of an abundance of caution, I’m urging the public to please stay off the roads and inside to ensure that all necessary work can proceed safely.”
Today, schools and government offices remained closed but the LF Wade International Airport is due to open at midday.
Hurricane Nicole has since weakened to a Category 1 hurricane and the NHC said it would continue to weaken and become a post-tropical cyclone Saturday.