HAMILTON, Bermuda (AFP) – Bermuda residents spoke of their relief and began a major clear-up Saturday after Hurricane Gonzalo spared the Atlantic archipelago from catastrophic damage, despite scoring a direct hit.
Gonzalo slammed into Bermuda as a strong category two storm on Friday, knocking down trees, damaging a hospital and cutting power to most of the island’s 65,000 residents.
“All in all, we came out of this storm much better than we expected,” Bermuda’s Premier Michael Dunkley said in a broadcast.
Bermuda “took a licking” from Gonzalo, he said, but praised residents for effectively preparing for the storm and for staying in their homes.
There were no immediate reports of fatalities.
“We are a bit bruised. But we will recover from this,” Dunkley said in his remarks, which were reported by The Royal Gazette newspaper.
Gonzalo, which killed one person and caused property damage in the Caribbean, buffeted the British overseas territory with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 kilometres) per hour, forecasters said.
“Bermuda was very lucky,” resident Deborah Titterton-Narraway told AFP, adding that Gonzalo “should have caused more damage.”
“But the structure of our homes, built of concrete brick and limestone, enabled them to withstand the winds… it could have been so much worse.”
The community was pulling together to help families whose homes needed repair, Titterton-Narraway said.