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Fiona batters Bermuda


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Fiona batters Bermuda
Hurricane Fiona pounded Bermuda with heavy rain and winds on Friday - Reuters

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Hurricane Fiona pounded the Atlantic island of Bermuda with heavy rain and winds for hours on Friday, knocking out power to thousands of homes and sending at least two people to hospital.

But the government’s early assessment was that the island had come through the powerful storm in good shape.

Fiona, which had earlier left a trail of death and destruction in its wake in the northern Caribbean, approached Bermuda as a dangerous Category 4 storm packing sustained winds of 130 miles per hour (mph).

But the hurricane diminished a notch to Category 3 as it passed west of the British overseas territory early on Friday.

Still, gusts reached as high as 103mph, the Bermuda Weather Service said in a bulletin.

The Bermuda Electric Light Company, the island’s sole power provider, said about 29 000 customers, more than 80% of its customer base, had no electricity on Friday morning.

But Michelle Pitcher, the deputy director of the Bermuda Weather Service, said the territory appeared to be largely unscathed.

“It’s been a long night, but there are no reports of injuries or fatalities,” Pitcher said. “There may be people with roof damage, but so far we haven’t heard of anything bad. As I said, we build our houses strong.”

Many Bermuda homes are built with small shuttered windows, slate roofs, and limestone blocks to withstand frequent hurricanes.

Lyndon Raynor of the Emergency Measures Organisation said there had been four medical calls during the storm, with two people needing to go to hospital, but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.

There was also one burglary, he said.

Government schools were closed on Friday with classes resuming on Monday.