Government Press Conference Re Tropical Storm Paulette
Earlier today, we convened an Emergency Measures Organisation meeting to get the latest updates regarding Tropical Storm Paulette.
Tropical Storm Paulette is expected to intensify into a hurricane and it poses a threat to Bermuda. As of this afternoon the Bermuda Weather Service indicated that Tropical Storm Paulette is currently over 800 nautical miles away to the east-southeast of Bermuda. It is expected to come within 100 nautical miles within the next 72 hours. The Bermuda Weather Service now expects Paulette’s closest approach on Monday. Over the weekend, Bermuda can expect to experience a progressed intensification of the storm and it is expected to increase to hurricane strength by late Sunday.
In light of this, I want to issue some critical reminders to the community, particularly as it relates to public safety and storm preparedness. As we have all seen, this 2020 Hurricane Season has been particularly active. And now, we’re facing the impact of a severe storm. I am urging the public to take the remainder of today and the weekend to ensure that their storm preparations are complete. An important point to remember is that we are still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to ensure that we take extra precautions.
Yes, residents should make sure they have the basic supplies in their hurricane kits. This includes your typical non-perishable food supplies and water and an extra supplies of key medicines. Also make sure you have fresh batteries and smartphone battery packs, flashlights and any other key items to aid in an emergency. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents should add personal protective equipment or PPE to their hurricane kits. This includes, face masks or face coverings and hand sanitizer. There should be enough PPE to last for at least seven (7) days for each member of your household. This weekend you should be finalizing any routine clean up or repair activities around your homes, as well as ensuring that your marine vessels are secure.
We are anticipating that Paulette will cause some challenges for those living in low lying coastal areas, so we are urging these residents to take the necessary safety precautions.
As we all know, our public schools are set to resume on Monday. However any decisions regarding the closure of schools, suspension of public transport, closure of government offices or the curtailing of other government services due to the storm will be shared following our EMO meeting tomorrow afternoon.
The public will be properly advised of any major decisions that affect them. Additionally the Bermuda Police Service, the Royal Bermuda Regiment, the Parks Department and the Ministry of Public Works are mobilizing their resources in the east, west and central areas of the island to ensure safety and security. Following our EMO meeting tomorrow, we will also be able to provide more information regarding the Government Shelter at CedarBridge.
As an added note, the Ministry of Health will also provide an update regarding its COVID-19 testing should it be affected by the impending storm. Lastly, before I turn it over to the National Disaster Coordinator who will provide you with a general update on the new location for our Hurricane Operations Centre as well as any other operational matters, I wish to stress to the community to please exercise good judgment and common sense regarding this storm.
Please exercise physical distancing when you are shopping for your supplies or if you intend to ride out the storm with others. Please take steps to protect your families. And above all, please check on your neighbors, our seniors, and our vulnerable persons. Bermuda, we have been through serious storms before, and we have weathered them by coming together as a community. So, let’s continue to look out for one another as we weather Paulette. As I indicated we will hold our next briefing late tomorrow afternoon, following our EMO meeting at 1.00 p.m.
We will also provide updates on the Emergency Broadcast Station 100.1 FM which will be broadcasting prior to the onset of the storm with key emergency information on the half hour.