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Bermuda: Blogging hurricane Florence

The video above was captured this afternoon by Bermuda bloggers Shawn and Sue “from the Southshore, Eastern end of Bermuda, approx 24 hours before Florence is scheduled to arrive.” Florence is the season's latest hurricane, and the island of Bermuda has been bracing for her arrival since the middle of last week.

While forecasters have lowered the hurricane predictions for this year, this means little to territories who happen to be in the path of what could be one of the season's “4-6 major storms.”Time to take stock of your batteries and candles, campers – it’s hurricane time again,” wrote blogger Bill Davidson on September 7, citing this paragraph from the Royal Gazette:

“It’s going to be a hurricane and it’s going to be close enough by Sunday or Monday” – warned the Bermuda Weather Service as Tropical Storm Florence veered towards Bermuda yesterday. Meteorologist Lou McNally said the 400-mile wide system was taking its time to organise but was a bigger threat because of its size. “Even if it misses by 200 miles we will feel the effects.” Mr. McNally said Florence was being taken very seriously.

On the same day, Marcus Cooper posted a photograph of a construction crane and promised that “I'll photograph it again next week (unless Florence turns the corner and goes somewhere) to see what damage, if any has been caused.” A clearly irritated Christian Dunleavy wondered at the coincidence of Bermuda being struck by storms beginning with the letter F, saying: “What the F is going on? I'd like to thank Florence for inviting herself as the first potential guest to the extremely exposed house on South Shore which I'm moving into tomorrow morning.”

On Saturday, local daredevil Mark Carey visited Horseshoe Bay to “swim in the waves being generated by incoming Hurricane Florence (it was still a tropical storm at the time, but has now been upgraded to a Cat 1).” A sign posted on the beach advised against entering the sea, but Mark wasn't the only one who ignored it:

There was a handful (maybe 20) people swimming in the waves, which were quite large at times. It was quite fun. Some of the waves were just massive, and you had to submerge and let those go over you, lest you be smashed into the sand below . . . .

(Here's further evidence of the Horseshoe Bay escapades from YouTube.)

At 10am this morning, the Limey observed that “. . . although hurricane Florence isn't predicted to strike Bermuda for another 24 hours, already the wind is picking up.” The Limey and his wife Mandy weathered 2003's hurricane Fabian at home, but Mandy is 37 weeks pregnant and this morning the couple were making preparations to evacuate. The two hotels they tried were already full, so they planned to wait out the storm at the Limey's office in Hamilton, Bermuda's capital:

It's relatively close to the hospital, less likely to lose power and telephone than places outside the city, and we should be able to park our new car (which we only got on Thursday) somewhere where a tree isn't going to fall on it. My boss and his wife will be there too, so we'll have some company.

Bill Davidson went around this morning securing the properties of friends and family who were stuck overseas, and took a few photos of the South Shore. Marcus Cooper announced he was “shutting down all the computers and unplugging everything. . . . I'll still take photos and video interesting weather. And I'll blog really interesting stuff by my phone but I want to keep that charged for emergencies (That assumes the wireless network stays up, it probably will).” (Here's Marcus's Flickr page). Christian Dunleavy's DSL connection was down, though he managed to get online with his cell phone.

This afternoon, Shawn and Sue reported that “the rain really started to come down about 12:30 or so, we had thunder and lightning, it was raining really hard, and figured this was a sign of things to come. . .” but that — in true hurricane fashion — things had since calmed down. They also took the opportunity to take a swipe at the leadership's response to the situation:

The premier just happened to be off-island and “couldn't find a flight back to the island before the storm and the airport shut down”. I wouldn't have thought those flights very full but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe next time CNN or someone can give him a lift, if he really wants to get back so bad….:)

Interestingly, the Bermuda Government is using its newly launched blog to circulate information on the hurricane.

Updates on hurricane Florence are available from the Bermuda Weather Service, which also has a webcam on its website. Views from a webcam trained on a street in Hamilton are available from Computer City.

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