HAMILTON, Bermuda, Tuesday September 10, 2013 – Two international flights were cancelled and St George’s ferry service suspended as reborn Tropical Storm Gabrielle took direct aim at Bermuda on Tuesday.
The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) has issued a tropical storm warning for the Overseas British territory as Gabrielle closed in on the island.
Residents, caught on the hop over Gabrielle’s resurgence, were also keeping a close eye on another tropical storm, Humberto, far to the east after it formed near Cape Verde Islands.
Humberto is packing winds of 65 mph and is expected to become the season’s first hurricane. It is moving west-northwest and is forecast to be around 1,850 miles east of Bermuda by Friday.
Gabrielle, packing 40 mph winds and the first storm of the hurricane season to threaten the island, is forecast to pass 25 miles to the northwest of Bermuda around midnight, according to an advisory issued by the BWS.
Some strengthening in Gabrielle is forecast over the next two days and is expected to bring storm surge of two to three feet above normal tide levels.
Gabrielle, which appeared to fizzle out after hitting parts of the Caribbean last week, is forecast to bring tropical-force winds, thunderstorm activity as well as heavy rain from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning, BWS said.
Tuesday night’s British Airways (BA) flight from and to London has been cancelled, along with WestJet Toronto service.
St George’s ferry service has been suspended until further notice because of bad weather linked to the storm but other ferry services were operating as normal on Tuesday morning.
General manager of L.F. Wade International Airport, Aaron Adderley, said BA and WestJet were the only airlines so far affected but more cancellations were anticipated.
“As a result of Tropical Storm Gabrielle moving into the region, we have taken the decision to cancel our flight to London on Tuesday,” said BA spokeswoman Sallie Singleton, adding “we have notified customers and are working quickly to identify alternative options for rebooking.”
A spokeswoman for the Transport Ministry said the St George’s ferry service was suspended until further notice due to inclement weather, but all other ferry services were operating as normal. The Ministry of Public Safety urged caution on the roads.
“As a public safety precaution, the ministry is advising motorists, particularly cyclists who are travelling about the island today to use extra care and caution when traversing the island’s roads and bridges,” a spokeswoman said.
“It is also advised that residents secure outdoor furniture, potted plants, garbage bins and any other items that could be blown about by the wind.”
Power provider the Bermuda Electric Light Company (Belco) also encouraged residents to make storm preparations.
“Belco is readying equipment, supplies and crews, as we prepare for the storm and monitor its progress,” a spokesman said.