SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Palette knocked down trees and power lines across Bermuda on Monday as it broke rare landslides in affluent British territory and strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane over the island.
Government officials told a news conference that there were no reports of deaths, injuries or serious property damage, and that two boys had been born at the height of the storm. Since the National Hurricane Center began recognizing such disasters in the 1850s, fewer than 10 hurricanes have landed directly on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic.
“We were able to do this through a very serious hurricane,” said National Security Minister Renee Ming.
The pallet was centered 160 miles (260 kilometers) northeast of Bermuda on Monday night and was heading towards open water at 15 mph (24 kph). According to the center, it has a maximum wind speed of 105 mph (165 kph).
Ming urged people to stay indoors and reminded more than 70,000 people living on the island to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. About 50 people were sheltered at the government shelter, and up to a third of the power company’s clients were without electricity at one stage.
Bobby Singh, who has lived in Bermuda for eight years, told the Associated Press that she is concerned about every storm, every storm.
“The biggest challenge in the midst of COVID-19 is preparing,” she said. “It gave us more to think about when we set out to get supplies in crowded places.”
Bermuda is a prosperous economic paradise, with stone and concrete structures needed to withstand the winds of a strong Category 2 storm.
Faith Bridges, owner of the hotel Aunt Nice Inn along the northern tip of the island, told the Associated Press by phone that she had finalized all preparations by Sunday and had given guests flashlights and warned that the energy would go out. But she was not worried.
“We need to be clearly prepared, but we built for it,” she said.
Ming said the international airport will reopen by Tuesday afternoon as authorities warn people to stay off the roads as hurricane power lines are likely to collapse.
The center said in its forecast discussion that there would be a major hurricane by Tuesday as the palette moves away from Bermuda.