Are you ready for hurricane season?

The National Hurricane Center provides storm specific forecasts, including track and intensity guidance. The Bermuda Weather Service (BWS) provides the official watches, warnings and forecasts for Bermuda on the authority of the Bermuda Government.  You can also tune into the local radio and television stations and the Emergency Broadcast Station on 100.1FM.

How to prepare for a hurricane

  • Meet with your family and plan ahead: Discuss with your family what you will do in the event of a hurricane. Be sure you incorporate lessons learned from previous hurricane seasons into your preparedness plan.
  • Check wind strength and direction details and apply this information to your property: Know your home's vulnerabilities. Are you elevated and exposed? Are you on the shore and exposed to the possibility of water damage?
  • Stock up on all medications.
  • Secure important documents: Make copies of important documents such as passports, insurance policies, and medical information. A safe deposit box at the bank is the safest place for the originals. If you keep copies of important documents at home, have them in a waterproof container or a vacuum-sealed storage bag and store them in a safe and secure location.
  • Ensure your home, boat, car, and contents insurance is current.
  • Buy non-perishable goods: Purchase goods that can sustain you and your family for up to three days. This should include sufficient drinking water.
  • Check on elderly neighbours: Ensure your neighbours are safe and have their supplies before a storm.
  • Identify outdoor preparedness measures: Note what outdoor preparation is needed before a storm and where outdoor plants, furniture, and yard equipment will be stored. You may need physical help to bring these items indoors as well as to board up windows with plywood and make sure all shutters are in working order. This part of the plan should be organised well before any pending storm or hurricane.
  • Monitor weather conditions before, during and after a hurricane: Your preparations timetable may need to change based on how the weather pattern changes.
  • Create a hurricane supplies checklist: Replace items like used batteries, empty gas canisters for portable stoves and first aid kits.
  • Ensure you have adequate communication means: Make sure you have a phone that does not need electricity to work. If you don’t have a cell phone, purchase an inexpensive, pre-paid phone with enough credit to last at least 5 days. If you have never used a cell phone, get someone to help you understand the basics, including how to send a text message.
  • Charge your devices: Before the arrival of a hurricane, be sure to charge your electrical devices, including your cell phone.
  • If you have a generator or a BBQ grill (gas or charcoal), do not operate it in the house: Keep any gasoline in a well-marked container in a safe location.
  • Be sure to have sufficient pet supplies: Ensure your pets are safe during a hurricane.
  • Create your own ice blocks: Consider making your own blocks of ice, which last longer than ice cubes, should your electricity go out. Fill plastic containers with water and freeze them in advance. You can use these later in your refrigerator and or freezer to keep foods cold.
  • Stock up on games and books to stay occupied during a storm.
  • Do not venture outside to have a look around during a hurricane: Depending on the storm system, the eye could pass over Bermuda. This is a time when there is reduced wind activity; the storm is still active during this period. Remain indoors.
  • Stay indoors until emergency services indicate it is safe to move around the island again: Give emergency personnel time to clear the roads.

A good hurricane kit for the home should include the following:

  • Non-perishable food; Pop up tops are the best, but in the event you can’t get these remember to have a manual can opener and canned food that doesn’t need to be cooked—energy bars, canned fruit, Vienna sausages, corned beef, tuna, powdered milk, juice boxes, dry cereals, etc
  • Bottled water (it is recommended to have a 3 day supply of food and water per person, including pets)
  • First aid supplies
  • Prescription medications
  • Extra, up-to-date eyeglasses, hearing-aids, oxygen
  • Personal hygiene products, including disposable body wipes
  • Limacol—a soothing astringent that cools the skin
  • Hand-held battery-operated fan—another way to keep cool
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Hand sanitiser
  • A bucket and rope for dipping water
  • Lightweight plastic tablecloth—a quick fix to protect furniture from leaky ceilings and not as heavy as tarpaulin (have some masking tape or clothes pegs to hold the plastic in place)
  • Cash—if banks are not open and you don’t have access to an ATM
  • A supply of plastic garbage bags (including deodorised bags) with ties
  • Disposable plates, cups and utensils
  • A disposable camera to take pictures of damage for insurance purposes
  • Work gloves and some basic tools—nails, a hammer and a screwdriver
  • Emergency contact list (laminated if possible)
  • Portable camping lanterns instead of candles—candles can be knocked over in the dark and cause a fire
  • Incontinence undergarments, or adult diapers, may also be necessary

General information about hurricanes

A tropical storm wind speed ranges from sustained 34-63 knots, only one knot more and it becomes a hurricane.

Each tropical system is different and frequently they merge with other weather systems in the Bermuda area. This complicates the weather forecast and the dynamics of the tropical system. In some cases, the storm’s strength could be reduced, yet in others it could strengthen or cause embedded tornadoes. It is vital to continually monitor all official media sources for updates. Some storms are predictable and others continue to be challenging to forecast, especially when they are interacting with other weather features such as cold fronts.

Closest Point of Approach updates indicate the closest point of approach of the centre of the tropical cyclone to Bermuda within 72 hours. This will change every six hours with each weather update to incorporate current details which include movement and track changes of the storm.

Many people mistake the CPA as the CPA of the entire forecast or life of the storm, but it is only a three day position forecast, ie. within 72 hrs from when the forecast is issued.

It is important to be alert and to be prepared.  Find out where the emergency shelters and medical centres are located.

To listen to the emergency broadcast, visit the link at the bottom of the page, or tune into 100.1 FM.