Bermuda took a beating last night as Hurricane Gonzalo made landfall as a category two hurricane with 110mph 1-minute sustained winds. Hurricane conditions (>64kt, >74mph 1-minute sustained winds) were observed around the island in both the northern eyewall with its easterly winds, and the southern eyewall with its westerly winds. Peak winds were observed in the southern eyewall when a preliminary peak gust to 125kts (144mph) was measured at St. David’s lighthouse – likely among the highest gusts ever observed in Bermuda. Frequent gusts between 100 and 115kts (115 and 132mph) were also measured in both the north and south part of the eyewall at elevation. A peak gust of 113mph was estimated at the airport in the southern eye wall. Pressures bottomed out between 951 and 953mb in the eye around 9:30pm – likely some of the lowest pressures ever observed in Bermuda.
These winds did considerable damage to the electric grid, knocking out power to nearly 90% of the island or ‘over 32,000’ customers. Reports suggest widespread tree branches, trees, and power poles downed, scattered roof damage. The causeway has taken some minor damage but appears to have survived enough to open within the day. The Bermuda Weather Service observed 2.47 inches of rain from Gonzalo. Finally, a NOAA operated NDBC site at Esso Pier on the north side of St. George’s island observed a preliminary 3.26ft storm tide (2.51ft storm surge) during low tide.
Gonzalo is now weakening and racing northeastward away from Bermuda, it may bring tropical storm conditions to parts of Newfoundland as it passes to the south of them on Sunday morning. Breezy westerly winds behind Gonzalo are ushering in less humid air to the island and dry weather for the next few says should help with the clean-up and restoration efforts. For the latest official weather forecast see the Bermuda Weather Service, and to continue tracking the tropics see the National Hurricane Center. For news updates including pictures see: The Royal Gazette | Bernews.