By Don Burgess
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Tues. Sept 15, 2020 (Reuters) – Hurricane Paulette knocked out power lines in much of Bermuda on Monday but eventually appeared to have caused only limited damage even as swells reached as far as the east coast of the United States.
The storm lingered over the British territory longer than initially forecast by the Bermuda Weather Service.
In an address to the island, Premier David Burt said there were no deaths, no serious injuries and less property damage than expected. “We have weathered the storm,” Burt said.
But a spokesperson for BELCO, the local electricity company, said 25,222 customers out of 36,000 lost power. In the evening there were still almost 14,700 people in the dark.
Later in the day, its eye was still located west of Bermuda, which lies about 650 miles (1,050 km) east of the United States, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
It was picking up speed, hitting a maximum sustained speed of 105 miles (169 km) per hour with higher gusts but moving gradually north-northeastward from the Atlantic archipelago and into open water, NHC said.
Swells were reaching parts of the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east cost of the United States, the Miami-based center said.
Another hurricane, Sally, was headed toward the U.S. Gulf Coast on Monday.
“The back side of the storm is always the worst,” said Ann Botelho, one of the residents who lost power for most of the day in reference to heavy rains.
Lt Col Benjamin Beasley, command of the Royal Bermuda Regiment, said soldiers started road cleanups. “We are not through it yet,” he said, adding that the island is now watching tropical storms Vicky and Teddy.
Both are currently in the Atlantic basin. While Vicky is weakening, Teddy is strengthening and expected to become a hurricane on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Don Burgess; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Christopher Cushing)