Dr. Mark Guishard, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, left, Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, centre, and Minister David Burch, right, gave a press conference this afternoon regarding preparations for Hurricane Igor. *Photo by James Whittaker
Dr. Mark Guishard, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, left, Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, centre, and Minister David Burch, right, gave a press conference this afternoon regarding preparations for Hurricane Igor. *Photo by James Whittaker
FRIDAY, SEPT. 17, 2pm: A Royal Navy ship and helicopter will be on standby off Bermuda as Hurricane Igor zeroes in on the island.

The British frigate will be stationed offshore, ready to offer support in case of widespread devastation.

Residents are being told to protect ‘life and property’ with Igor now expected to be a direct hit as an intense category two storm around 2am on Monday.

The Bermuda Regiment has been partially mobilized pre-storm with some soldiers reporting to Warwick Camp Sunday.

An emergency shelter at CedarBridge Academy will open from 5pm tonight.

All schools are closed Monday and Tuesday and Government offices will be shut on Monday.

The hospital has reported its readiness and the Lambe Foggo Clinic will be in a position to provide Emergency Room level care on the east of the island. Additional ambulances and EMTs have also been assigned to St George’s and St David’s.

The airport is currently still open but is expected to close Saturday afternoon until Monday. Hotels are implementing their own disaster plans while some tourists are already re-arranging flights or leaving today.

The Causeway will close following the onset of storm force winds (50 knots), currently forecast for early on Sunday afternoon.

Residents in low-lying areas have been told to expect serious storm surge and make the necessary preparations to secure their properties.

The Emergency Measures Organisation, headed by Home Affairs Minister Colonel Burch, met this morning and announced its action plan to the public in a televised press conference just after 12.30pm.

Dr. Mark Guishard, director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said the threat from Hurricane Igor was very real and urged islanders to guard against complacency.

He said it was larger and slower moving than Hurricane Fabian and would be almost as strong as the 2003 storm, which cost four people their lives.

“It is a similar intensity and it is bigger, making us a more likely target. Even if the eye misses the island we can expect significant impact,” he said.

The Bermuda Weather Service will upgrade the threat level to ‘hurricane warning’ for the island at 3pm today.

Dr. Guishard said we can expect sustained winds of 90 knots and above — possibly rising to 100 knots — late Sunday and early on Monday.

He warned that tropical storm force winds would arrive in the early hours on Sunday and hang around until late Monday.

He said there was also potential for tornados before and after the height of the storm.

Colonel Burch urged residents to stay indoors — even after the worst winds had passed.

He said it was critical that the emergency services had the opportunity to make a full damage assessment as quickly as possible.

Anyone who has not completed their preparations for the storm — boarding up of windows, moving outside furniture, stocking up on supplies — should do so today, he added.

“We are just over 24 hours away from experiencing the beginning of what is expected to be the ferocious impact of Hurricane Igor.

“We have all heard the reports from the Bermuda Weather Service that this storm will be a long and punishing one and the potential for injury and physical damage is great.”
Bermuda Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva — the EMO’s head of operations — added that the service would be operational on both sides of the Causeway.

He said the public should expect a reduced level of service at the height of the storm.

But he insisted officers would be in a position to respond to any threat of looting in the wake of a devastating storm.

On top of the force’s responsibilities in storm related emergencies, he said the police would be able to deal adequately with criminal threats — particularly gun violence.

Press statement by David Burch, Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Housing

Press statement by Dr. Mark Guishard, Director of Bermuda Weather Service