Bermuda residents have been told to brace themselves for up to nine hours of hurricane conditions as Tropical Storm Paulette continues to take aim at the island.
Paulette, which is due to become a hurricane by Sunday, is set to land a direct hit on the island on Monday morning as a Category 2 hurricane packing winds of 100 miles per hour.
At 6 p.m. (local time) on Saturday, Paulette was 460 miles southeast of Bermuda, packing 70 mph winds and moving northwest at 15 mph.
Bermuda’s government schools, which were due to reopen on Monday for the first time since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, government officials said.
The L.F. Wade International Airport will close at 6 p.m. on Sunday and will reopen at noon on Tuesday.
Ferry and bus services will be halted later on Sunday.
Government buildings will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, but public officers are asked to work remotely on Tuesday if possible.
Mark Guishard, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said on Saturday: “If the forecast holds true, we can anticipate a direct hit by a Category 2 hurricane, and accordingly Bermuda is now under a hurricane warning.
“The public will need to prepare for a long duration of tropical-storm-force winds from an easterly direction beginning late Sunday afternoon and then ramping up to hurricane strength by the early hours of Monday morning.
“The hurricane conditions should last up to nine hours and will start to swing around to a westerly direction sometime after dawn on Monday.
“The worst conditions are anticipated for the closest point of approach, which is forecast to be less than 25 miles from the island at 7 a.m. Monday morning.”
He added that “significant” storm surge potentially exceeding three feet was expected, with the strengthening winds coinciding with high tide — expected to be at about 6 a.m. on Monday.
National Security Minister Renée Ming told an earlier media conference: “Our weather experts indicate that this will be a sustained storm with serious winds, so we are asking people to ensure that their preparations are completed by (Saturday) tonight.”