HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) – Crews cleared away downed trees and power lines today after Hurricane Gonzalo battered this tiny, wealthy British territory for several hours but caused no deaths or serious injuries.
The storm’s centre crossed over Bermuda late Friday and Gonzalo quickly moved northward over the Atlantic on a track that could take it just off the shore of Newfoundland in Canada.
Some 20 000 homes in Bermuda were still without power in the afternoon, but Premier Michael Dunkley said clean-up efforts were going smoothly. He said the U.S., Britain and other nations have offered assistance.
“All hands are on deck,” he tweeted. “Bermuda is roaring back!”
Gonzalo approached Bermuda as a Category 3 storm then weakened to Category 2 strength just before coming ashore with sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph). Even after beginning to move away, its fierce winds battered the island for hours.
Maria Frith, who owns Grape Bay Cottages on Bermuda’s south coast, said in a phone interview that the hurricane woke her up before dawn when it tore the patio roof off her house.
“To be perfectly honest with you, I was terrified, partly because of the noise,” she said. “It was really scary.”
Some Bermudians woke up to toppled concrete walls, uprooted palm trees and boats run aground.
Gonzalo ripped part of the roof off the island’s legislature, the House of Assembly, as well as the roof of an exhibit at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.
The Royal Gazette newspaper quoted principal curator Ian Walker as saying he had to put down a yellow crown night heron that suffered a broken wing.
No catastrophic damage was reported on Bermuda, which has one of the highest per-capita incomes in the world and is known for strict building codes meant to ensure homes can withstand sustained winds of at least 110 mph (177 kph).
The last major hurricane to strike Bermuda was Fabian in September 2003. That Category 3 storm killed four people and caused more than $100 million in damage.
The island was still recovering from last weekend’s blast from Tropical Storm Fay, which also damaged homes and toppled power lines.