Hamilton, Bermuda, October 14, 2016—Bermuda’s airport re-opened today along with businesses throughout the island, following yesterday’s direct hit by Hurricane Nicole, a Category 3 storm.
“We’ve stressed our resilience before, and we can attest to it once again,” said BDA CEO Ross Webber. “Bermuda has a fully robust infrastructure that caters to the modern needs of international business. We’re strong, united and very different to other offshore centres. I’m proud to see this community get up and running within hours of such a direct hurricane hit.”
One of the strongest storms on record to hit Bermuda in modern times, Nicole was a Category 4 upon her approach, lessening to Category 3 as she passed directly over the island yesterday. No deaths were recorded, officials confirmed, though the storm downed power lines and poles, and caused damage to property, boats and vegetation. Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers helped clear roads and thoroughfares from fallen trees and debris immediately after the storm passed.
An estimated 27,000 homes, or 90 percent of the island’s population, lost power; crews from the Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) reconnected half of those by Friday morning, and worked through the day to complete restoration. Carriers were also working to restore cell-phone and cable networks.
“Without minimising the effects that certain residents and businesses are facing, primarily as a result of flooding, it is fair to say the island came through this strong hurricane relatively unscathed,” noted John Wight, President of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. “One contributing factor to this outcome is that Bermuda residents have learnt from past events and have done an impressive job of preparing and protecting their assets. Another undeniable factor is the robustness of both the building structures and the building codes in Bermuda.”
While schools and Bermuda government offices remained closed until Monday, the island’s hospital, garbage service, docks, banks and many businesses were operational, opening their doors the morning after the storm. The City of Hamilton streets were clear and the capital was bustling throughout the day, with offices, restaurants and retailers busy in the hurricane’s aftermath. Ferry service re-starts tomorrow, and cruise ships resume their regular schedule to the island next week. Hotels tweeted photos of yesterday’s ‘hurricane parties’ and assured incoming guests the storm would not affect their vacation plans.
“Bermuda is extremely resilient, with very strong building codes and a culture of preparedness,” said Bradley Kading, President and Executive Director of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR). “Bermudians protect themselves, uniformly prepare for storms, and help their neighbours afterwards. Everyone uses insurance—which protects people and property and leads to a faster recovery with an economic stimulus. In this way, the island is a role model for other jurisdictions.”
“It’s remarkable that one day after a major hurricane strike, Bermuda is open for business, helping finance disaster risk worldwide, and poised to welcome back business visitors and vacationers alike,” said Stephen Weinstein, General Counsel of ABIR member RenaissanceRe, who thanked the Bermuda government, the Ministry of National Security, the Emergency Measures Organisation, Bermuda Police Service, BELCO, and the Regiment “who prepared us for the storm, communicated about it effectively, and have led a rapid cleanup and recovery effort.”
Weinstein added that one of the most impressive things about the island’s rebound was that all residents benefitted from storm-safe homes.
“The island’s building codes and practices, resilient infrastructure and ethos of community preparation served us all very well yet again, and that’s why Hurricane Nicole was not a human disaster,” he said. “As we see the growing human toll from other recent hurricane landfalls, we hope Bermuda can provide an example so that other island and coastal residents can be equally safe from these kind of storms in the future.”