Hurricane Gonzalo made a direct hit on Bermuda as a strong category two storm, knocking down trees, damaging a hospital and plunging most of the island’s terrified residents into the dark.
Gonzalo, which had already killed one person and caused property damage in the Caribbean, buffeted the British overseas territory in the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 110 miles (175 kilometres) per hour, forecasters said.
By 0900 GMT (12pm local time) Saturday, Gonzalo had torn its way over Bermuda and was about 190 miles northeast of the island — home to about 65,000 people — and moving quickly away, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said in its latest forecast, downgrading it to a tropical storm.
The island’s only newspaper, The Royal Gazette, reported that 31,200 homes — or a majority of Bermudians — were without power.
Flooding and storm surges were reported all around the island, trees were down across many roads and the main hospital had suffered damage to its roof, the report said.
Holidaymakers and residents said they were praying for the best, with the full extent of the destruction yet to become clear.
Sharon Scott, writing on Twitter, said: “The morning after the night before! We made it! No idea about our boats. Can’t go out yet, roads impassable. Hope all in Bermuda are safe.”
The storm was forecast to pass near the coast of Newfoundland, on Canada’s eastern coast, on Saturday night and into early Sunday. Forecasters were also warily eyeing Tropical Storm Trudy, which was intensifying quickly, prompting Mexican authorities to issue a hurricane watch from east of Acapulco to Lagunas de Chacahua.