TUESDAY, OCT. 16: The Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) today advised that Hurricane Rafael is forecast to reach its closest point of approach to Bermuda at 8 p.m. this evening. The center of hurricane Rafael will pass just over 100 nautical miles to our east south east, however tropical storm force winds extend nearly 200 miles from the center.
Residents should be cautious and consider remaining indoors during peak winds expected late afternoon through evening. Elevated and exposed areas, especially those on the eastern end of the Island could experience winds of 40 knots, gusting to 65 knots mainly when heavier showers/thunderstorms pass over the area during this time.
Tides, which are already higher than usual due to the spring tides, will become high around 10pm tonight. Areas that are prone to flooding in spring tide events will be affected during this time, especially with heavier rainfall as shown on Bermuda Weather Service radar.
Bermuda is under a Tropical Storm Warning, and will remain so until the passage of Hurricane Rafael.
The Hon. Wayne Perinchief J.P. M.P, Minister of National Security and Chairman of the EMO said: "The latest update from the Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) as of the 12 noon advisory, is for Hurricane Rafael to pass approximately 100 miles to Bermuda's east south east this evening. Rafael is expected to bring storm force winds and rough seas. I urge the public to exercise caution and remain indoors during the heaviest winds and thunderstorms which are expected early this evening. Residents should stay tuned to the local media for EMO updates during the day and once home after leaving work people should strongly consider staying indoors during the peak between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. this evening.”
Public Schools and Government offices remain open today.
The Department of Marine and Ports (M&P) has advised that Sea Express the St. George’s ferry service has been suspended until further notice. An hourly service between Hamilton and Dockyard is currently operating until further notice. M&P advised that they intend to provide service to Rockaway, Cavello Bay and Watford Bridge at 4:20 and 5:30pm from Hamilton and a final decision on running these services will be made no later than 3pm and will be based on conditions at that time. The ferry Resolute will be the only ferry operating to the West End for the duration of this day. All other vessel are being secured at their perspective berths. An advisory for Pink route service will also come at 3pm.
The Department of Public Transportation will continue to provide service and will assess the weather as the hurricane moves closer to determine if cancellations are required.
The Department of Airport Operations (DAO) has advised that the LF Wade International Airport is expected to remain open throughout the day. The DAO will continue to assess the latest forecast weather conditions as they become available to make a determination on any potential disruption to the Airport’s normal operating hours. As of 12 noon, the following flight cancellations have been confirmed:
British Airways to/from London Gatwick
United Airlines to/from Newark
US Airways to/from Philadelphia
Westjet to/from Toronto
The two evening American Airlines flight arrivals have been rescheduled for tomorrow morning. American Airlines flight 308 from Miami will arrive tomorrow at 9:35am and depart at 10.32am. American Airlines flight 1416 from NY JFK will arrive tomorrow at 10:15am and depart at 11:00am.
Delta Airlines flight 561 from Boston has returned to Boston due to a mechanical issue. The airline has not yet provided an update on its status.
All other flights are operating as per normal.
Bermuda College will be closing at 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, October 16. All night classes have been cancelled due to the approach of Tropical Storm Raphael, which is expected to develop into a category 1 Hurricane as it passes Bermuda around 8 this evening. The College is in the midst of its mid-term exams and those classes scheduled for Tuesday evening, will be re-scheduled and students contacted via College e-mail.
Bermuda College will resume its normal business operations and class schedules on Wednesday.
The Bermuda National Library has advised they will close early at 5 p.m. instead of the usual closing time of 7 p.m.
The Community Education and Development Programme has advised students that due to the latest weather forecast and numerous inquiries, ALL CEDP classes will be cancelled for this evening.
For more information on Hurricane Rafael, residents can tune in to or log on to the following:
Hurricane preparedness: www.emobermuda.com
Online weather updates: http://www.weather.bm/>
Televised weather updates: CableVision Ch. 4 and WOW Ch. 100
For The Public Forecast: Dial 977
For The Current Observation: Dial 9771
For The Marine Forecast Dial: 9772
For Latest Warnings & Tropical Information: Dial 9773
Government’s Emergency Broadcast station is on 100.1 FM.
Hurricane season officially began June 1, and concludes on November 30, 2012.
*Image courtesy of the Bermuda Weather Service (refresh page for latest image)