SATURDAY, SEPT 8: The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore has probably experienced more hurricanes first-hand than any other reporter.
Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was his first storm and, having covered four major storms in Bermuda, he knows one thing with certainty about island residents: They respect the weather.
Last night, Mr Cantore told The Weather Channel’s audience of millions that Bermuda’s residents take storms seriously, saying: "The way the people on this island prepare is second to none."
Mr Cantore is in Bermuda providing updates on Leslie, the storm that has fluctuated between a tropical storm and a hurricane.
This afternoon he reiterated his earlier theme by telling The Weather Channel audience: "That's the way they take storms here - they take them very seriously."
Speaking to the Bermuda Sun today, he said the difference between Bermuda and many of the other places he’s covered big storms is that “you guys respect the weather a little bit more.
“You know you live out here on an island; you know you’re a sitting duck potentially when a storm comes, so you build to that natural disaster in the first place.
“There’s no place to evacuate and there’s one voice that comes out and says ‘here’s what we need you to do.’ It starts with your Government and everybody respects that and follows suit.”
He continued: “You’ve been bitten before by Emily and Fabian and whether the storm is going to miss you or not, you prepare the same way and that’s to be commended.
“It makes my job easier. I don’t have to sit and look at Tweets and say ‘Cantore, this is a nothing storm, you’re hyping it.’ Well, okay, maybe it won’t be a big deal but people are preparing nonetheless.”
He said the tone resonates from the news media with headlines like ‘Be ready for Leslie’, ‘Don’t let your guard down’ or ‘Remain vigilant’ — to Premier Paula Cox.
In his long career, Mr Cantore has covered Hurricanes Bill, Florence and Igor.
He said Hurricane Leslie “will be the farthest one away. It’s also, potentially, the one we’ll deal with the longest because it’s so lopsided.
“In other words, all the weather to the north of it [Hurricane Michael] and the all the centre is still to the south and you’re going to have all of that move through us first starting tonight. Tomorrow looks like a long day.
“With each one of the rainbands we face getting tropical storm force winds and gusts.”
Mr Cantore said sometimes people look just at the category of and a hurricane and, based on that, decide how serious they will it. But this, he says, is a mistake.
“We can’t get away from the category system… but there’s so much more to a hurricane than a wind scale. There are the affects that are far-reaching outside of the hurricane.”
Using the current storm as an example, there are waves “that are already striking the east coast [of the US]. So there’s impact far away from the centre.
“What resonated for me during [Hurricane] Isaac was the fact that we had people saying ‘this isn’t going to be as bad as Katrina, it’s only going to be a Cat 1’. But little did they understand, they were going to be on the worst side of the storm.
“Katrina went east of New Orleans. As a [Category] 3, yes, but Isaac was a strong one and a big wind field went west of it so it shoved all that water up into the parishes and up the Mississippi River past New Orleans.”
He said that is also evident with Tropical Storm Leslie.
“If Leslie went to the west of Bermuda, it would be a totally different animal as it would mean we’re in the right front quadrant, which is typically the bigger side.
“When you’re on the west side of the storm, as we are in this case, and the storm is moving away from you and to the north of you, the winds are in the opposite direction so you’re losing that component of wind speed a little bit.”
He said Bermuda will still be getting rainbands and along with them, tropical storm force winds and gusts.
“There will be sporadic power outages and we’ll have some beach erosion continuing as we’ve already seen and unfortunately — as beautiful and inviting as this water is — you can’t get in it as you can already see the rip curl underneath the wave.”
While in Bermuda, Mr Cantore works from early in the morning until late at night giving live updates back to The Weather Channel. He was based today at Elbow Beach.
“That’s my day anywhere on the beach; that’s TV. We have prime time at night and prime time in the morning. If you get a meal and a nap in between, God bless you.”