Hurricane Gonzalo: Bermuda 'bruised' by direct hit

Stefano Ausenda shovels debris away from his driveway after Hurricane Gonzalo passed through in Sandys Parish, western Bermuda, October 18, 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hurricane Gonzalo was the strongest storm since 2011 but caused less damage than initially feared

Bermudians are clearing up after a direct hit from Hurricane Gonzalo downed power lines and damaged buildings on the tiny Atlantic territory.

Bermuda was "bruised" but came out of the storm better than expected, Premier Michael Dunkley said.

The storm made landfall on Friday, with rain and 175km/h (110mph) winds.

Only minor injuries were reported in what was the strongest storm to hit the island in a decade.

It was the second storm in a week to hit the island.

Damaged trees

Gonzalo caused power cuts to 31,200 homes, although two-thirds of people had their electricity restored by Saturday afternoon, according to the Bermuda Electric Company.

The hurricane also caused flooding, felled trees and damaged buildings.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bermuda frequently sees storms and has strict building regulations
Image copyright AP
Image caption Yachts broke free from their moorings

Initially a category 4 storm as it approached the island, Hurricane Gonzalo weakened and was downgraded to a category 2 storm on Friday before it made landfall on the British overseas territory.

The international airport in Bermuda, which is a British overseas territory, closed ahead of the storm and many roads were closed after being blocked by falling debris.

The main hospital saw some damage to its roof but otherwise fared well, Premier Dunkley said.

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Media captionHurricane Gonzalo swept by the eastern Caribbean earlier in the week

"As far as roads and infrastructure, we are in a much better position than many people might have thought," he said.

The Royal Navy has deployed a frigate, HMS Argyll, along with trained medical personnel to help with the provision of humanitarian assistance in Bermuda, the UK Ministry of Defence said.

It said the ship was en route to Bermuda, where it will help recover power, communications and water supplies, while a helicopter on the ship will carry out surveillance over the island.

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Media captionHurricane Gonzalo - next moves

Earlier last week, Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines.

"To be struck twice by two different cyclones is unusual, to say the least," said Max Mayfield, a former director of the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

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