Hurricane Nicole on Thursday roared across Bermuda, pummeling the resort island with winds up to 185kph that snapped trees and peeled off roofs before the storm spun away into open water.
The Category 3 system also flooded homes, damaged boats that broke away from their moorings and knocked out power to more than 27,000 people who live in the British territory, which has sturdy infrastructure and is accustomed to heavy weather.
By late Thursday, crews were clearing roads, and many islanders were posting pictures of calmer seas and clearer skies.
“Nicole is now racing away,” Bermuda Weather Service Deputy Director James Dodgson said. “There’s been a bit of sunshine trying to poke through.”
Forecasters expected to cancel a tropical storm warning later in the evening.
Hours earlier, Bermuda’s 65,000 people got a brief respite from the storm’s fury when the eye of the hurricane passed overhead. Authorities urged everyone to stay inside.
After the eye moved away, the wind grew strong enough to fling open a hatch on the weather service’s radar, rendering it useless until the hatch could be shut, forecasters said.
In Nicole’s aftermath, officials inspected bridges and other structures. The Royal Bermuda Regiment removed uprooted trees and other debris from roads.
Cleanup efforts were expected to continue until early yesterday, and the island’s airport planned to reopen by then. Schools were scheduled to stay closed until Monday.
Although severe storms often affect Bermuda, “a hurricane this strong is rare,” the National Hurricane Center said.
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