Minister Dunkley: Post Tropical Storm Update

September 11, 2013

Bermuda was spared any severe impact from Tropical Storm Gabrielle, and there have been only minor power outages and a few fallen trees, Minister of Public Safety Michael Dunkley said this morning [Sept 11].

Minister Dunkley’s full statement follows below:

Good morning and thank you for coming.

Fortunately Bermuda was spared any severe impact from Tropical Storm Gabrielle. Our reports indicate that there have been only minor power outages, only a few trees have fallen and people and property are all safe.

The Norwegian Dawn was unable to leave Bermuda ahead of the storm yesterday and, with extra precaution taken, encountered no issues at Dockyard and is due to leave today.

This storm developed close to us, developed quickly and somewhat unexpectedly. The storm encountered ideal conditions for strengthening not far from Bermuda and so as soon as we could yesterday morning residents were alerted to the Tropical Storm warning that was in effect for Bermuda.

We are grateful to Digicel and CellOne for the text message facility they provide and yesterday’s message was sent at our request and to our satisfaction.

As the companies have indicated, sending a text message to 20,000 subscribers is a little different than texting between BFFs.

This service takes about 90 minutes or slightly longer to completely deliver to the subscriber base and it is used with that in mind.

Let me address the decision to close schools which was communicated last evening in time for the 7pm news cycle.

The main concern of the EMO and the Government of Bermuda in any storm is the safety of our people.

Our children catch buses, take the ferries, walk or are dropped off by parents or guardians at school.
Yesterday’s weather information indicated that Gabrielle was moving slower, getting stronger and likely to bring hurricane force gusts across the Island.

With a forecast of up to 7 inches of rain and with the recent heavy growth of trees we could not be sure that the storm’s winds would allow buses to run as scheduled and roads to be safe for motorists early this morning.

The decision to close schools was not premature but prudent based on the information we had at the time and out of concern for the safety of the most vulnerable in our community, our children.

In addition to reports from members of the EMO through the night and early today several of us personally, including myself and Minister Brangman, went out between 5am and 6am this morning to see how we had fared.

Once it was clear that our children could safely get to school we made the decision to open the so that we could turn a potential lost day into a day of learning.

I apologize for any confusion this caused but please know that our sole motivation is the safety of our people.

Better safe than sorry.

The tropical storm warning was lifted at 9am and a small craft warning remains in effect.

One or two schools had electricity issues and BELCO worked to restore power. TN Tatem and Dellwood are closed due to water issues but will open tomorrow. Parents have been notified.

The St. George’s ferry service is cancelled for today but we expect a return to a normal schedule tomorrow.

If Fabian taught us one thing, it is that there is no substitute for safety.

We chose to err on the side of caution and sometimes that means inconvenience to our usual schedules.

I prefer complaints about the inconvenience of this decision than to be comforting a family whose child was injured or worse because we put convenience over safety.

In closing I would like to thank the EMO, Bermuda Weather Service, all the Civil Servants who worked through the night and also you the Bermuda Public for your cooperation and support.

Thank you.

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Articles that link to this one:

  1. PLP: Pre-Storm Decisions Cannot Be Repeated | | September 11, 2013
  1. watching says:

    Thanks Premier Dunkley! When is the OBA Leadership election anyway? Sep 21? If so, then I think we will have a new Premier…

    • haha says:

      think again ya dummy…jokes on you. go back to watchin tv ya tryin to hard!

      • Terry says:

        The jokes on you ‘haha says:’

        Bet you did not watch “tv” right?
        Never text , pulled up the net, weather et al.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Same old song. It’s got no teeth.

    • margeI says:

      I am so fed up with Leaha Scott , she does not return messages that were sent to her…what the hell are we paying her for ?
      My husband voted for her.. thank God I did not !!!!! he also regrets voting for her..

  2. SoMuchMore says:

    get someone to check the letters before going out to the punlic dummies.

    And yes vote for the milk man. He’s still better than the puppeteer.

  3. Vote for Me says:

    “With a FORECAST of up to 7 inches of rain and with the recent heavy growth of trees we could not be sure that the storm’s winds would allow buses to run as scheduled and roads to be safe for motorists early this morning.

    I apologize for any confusion this caused but please know that our sole motivation is the safety of our people.”

    Lots of confusion indeed – Minister Dunkley – a simple apology to parents is enough! The decision to close yesterday was premature and I am sure all parents hope a more reasonable decison will be made in the future (i.e. early in the morning).

    • Fed Up says:

      Not premature at all, if they hadn’t closed and something had happened I bet you’d be the first to say they should have closed, can’t please everyone all the time:)

      • Vote for Me says:

        Some are intentionally missing the point. The decision to close the schools should not have been made at 6pm on the day PRIOR to the storm. What should have happened is that they should have stated that the decision to open or close the schools would be made in the morning.

        A similar example is teh causeway. Bermuda seems to have recently closed teh causeway on a ‘willy nilly basis’ until recently. The new (improved process) is to only close the causeway when there is a known hazard.

        This is really a simple process and would not cause any risk to anyone. Most people would then know that they can go to bed and will be advised in the morning if school is open or closed. To be told definitively that schools will be closed and then have the decision reveresed has been a disservice to everyone.

        Minister Dunkley understands and has apologised.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    The man tried to show he is Leader, that’s all it is. The EMO should have known at 7pm that the strm will pass by at around midnight. It actually slowed a bit and passed around 2am. It’s a tropical storm Minister, aka Tank Rain, so a simple calculation at 7pm would have indicated that by the next morning, the storm would be about 40-70nm NW and moving away from Bermuda. Based on these facts, a decision should have been made. I hope this was part of the discussions…..the actual weather reports!

  5. ann says:

    Thank you Minister Dunkley for acting responsibily. The same people that are complaining for you making decisions last evening would have been the same ones complaining should the storm have been worse and you hadnt made a decision.

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      @ann, the problem is he made a decision and then reversed it, not the fact that he made a decision in the first place. Not everybody has maids to drive and babysit their kids. Most people have a life to live, and consistency is important. Understand?

      • Mike Hind says:

        Be honest. The REAL problem is that his party won the election and yours didn’t…

        • Impressive says:

          Mike Hood, do you think that everytime someone criticizes the current administration, regardless of how valid their point may be,, its only because they are upset their party lost the election?? really???

          QUESTION: Do you believe that the OBA are without any fault at all?, and if your answer is No, do you think that we the public have a right to question them??? just asking

          • Mike Hind says:

            Nope. Never said that.
            When the point is valid, by definition, it’s valid. However, CC has shown, time and again to be nothing more than a mud-slinging demagogue who will say anything to denounce the OBA, no matter how INvalid.

            As for your second question:
            I’m not an OBA supporter, so no, they aren’t without fault. I’m just sick of folks like mazimbo (who as much as admitted this today) and CC going off every single time something happens. It makes it REALLY hard to take them seriously if and when they have a legitimate gripe. Especially when their response to any sort of criticism is to starts making horrible personal attacks instead of engaging.

            • Amazed says:

              You go off as well and cannot see the issue. The point is the timing of the decision which could have been better if it had occurred in the early morning! Mr Dunkley intentionally deflects from the point by referencing safety!

        • fessup! says:

          No the real problem is you die hard UBP supporters are too afraid to admit when your party has made an error!

    • Earl Monroe says:

      Well said Ann. Amazing to me how foolish some are. They did the right thing to err on side of caution. As the folks in the U.S. can tell you after Sandy, storms can take unexpected turns which could lead to disaster.

  6. Steven says:

    Don’t care about the politrix of it all, but want to tip my hat to the Works and Engineering crews that were picking up trash around 9pm in Devonshire despite the winds and rain. I was very pleasantly surprised and let them know it did not go unnoticed.

  7. Black Bird says:

    OBA will be a one hit wonder and they can thank their nasty members on the Blogs!

    • Mike Hind says:

      Are you saying that the PLP’s commentators on the blogs and forums aren’t nasty?


  8. To the concerned citizen, I have two children and a job, I wish I had a nanny and a maid but don’t! I just deal with what happens, and worry about what really matters in this country. I also feel that people that critique everything this current Goverment is doing possibly should be getting more education so that they could help make a difference. I can promise blogging your complaints is rather weak, and not very helpful