HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sunday October 12, 2014, CMC – Bermuda began a major clean-up operation after Tropical Storm Fay battered the island with high winds and heavy rain early Sunday, knocking out power to more than 27,000 customers and leaving several roads in this British Overseas Territory blocked with fallen trees and other debris.
Bus and ferry services were suspended while Sunday’s scheduled football matches were called off as strong winds persisted in the afternoon, although Fay was 150 miles to the northeast of the island.
There were no immediate reports of any personal injuries, however residents have been urged to stay at home.
Fay’s maximum sustained winds were recorded at 70 mph, just short of the hurricane threshold, although gusts of 82 mph were recorded.
Forecasters said the back of the eye of the storm brought the strongest winds, enhanced by thunderstorms.
The storm, which hit the island around 4 a.m., also caused major flooding to the terminal building at the L.F. Wade International Airport, resulting in the suspension of flights.
It was not immediately clear when scheduled flights would resume.
“Tropical storm conditions are likely for a few hours on the back side of the storm, with easing winds by late morning, as Fay moves slowly away,” said a release from the Bermuda Weather Service.
TS FAY. BERMUDA pic.twitter.com/Lja76Sn3u9
— ⚡️Storm Reports⚡️ (@KimTwister) October 12, 2014
On Sunday, Airport CEO Aaron Adderley said “The airfield is open for emergency services, diversions and private jets.”
“But the terminal building itself has experienced major flooding, including the immigration hall and customs hall. We have to sort that out before we can allow passengers through, because of the flooding, our fire alarms have also gone off. We’re working hard to get it all back up and running,” he added.
Fay also forced two cruise liners to delay their arrival into Bermuda.
The Grandeur of the Seas and the Norwegian Dawn were both due to arrive in island on Sunday.
Meanwhile, acting Premier Trevor Moniz urged residents to stay off the roads while work crews from various agencies work to clear debris.
“We are aware of some damage to property and of downed trees and power lines,” he said.
“The safest thing is for people to remain at home and allow the important work that follows this kind of storm to be done safely and by the responsible agencies.
“I am in close contact with the Premier and I have asked the Commissioner of Police to convene a meeting of the Emergency Measures Organisation (EMO) so that we can properly assess the damage and ensure that Bermuda gets back to normal operation as soon as possible.”
Premier Michael Dunkley, who is off the island, urged householders to stay home.
He tweeted: “Bda hope you are all safe today. Let’s rally and help neighbors. The EMO is meeting shortly and crews will be out to clear roads. Stay home.”
Meteorologists said Fay — the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, stayed on a more northerly track than expected and passed virtually right over the island around 4 a.m. local time.