By TIM SMITH
When the bombardment of howling winds finally stops, the calmness of the hurricane’s eye can seem like a huge relief.
The advice is simple: don’t be fooled and don’t take any risks.
As the eye of the storm passes overhead, the clear blue skies and sudden stillness offer a welcome break from the swirling grey and black clouds of the hurricane.
Bear in mind, however, that the emergence of the eye merely signifies the storm is at its halfway point.
The eye remains above us for an unpredictable length of time before we are suddenly back under the eyewall which contains some of the storm’s fiercest winds.
Steve Cosham, the national disaster coordinator of the Emergency Measures Organisation, said: “During a hurricane, we give advice to the public to stay in your home, stay safe. If the eye is going over, don’t go outside because we don’t know how long the eye is going over for.
“We don’t know when the eye is going to pass and we will be immediately hit by high winds.”
The EMO will report when it is safe to leave your house via the Government’s emergency broadcast station on 100.1FM.
The eye of the storm is the roughly circular spot of comparatively light winds, between five and 60 miles wide, around which the hurricane’s clouds are spinning. It is easily visible on satellite pictures.
While air rises elsewhere in the hurricane, air is sinking within the eye, which brings warmness to the ground and prevents rain from falling.
The eyewall, which circles just next to the eye and is typically about ten miles thick, has very strong winds that shoot in different directions.
Bermuda suffered one of its worst hurricane experiences as the eyewall of Fabian caused huge amounts of damage while it loitered over the island for several hours in 2003.
In contrast, Bermuda has been relatively spared on some occasions when the eye has passed over directly.
For example, Hurricane Gonzalo boasted gusts of up to 150mph, but experts said damage was mitigated because the total number of hours of significant winds was reduced as the very large eye passed overhead.
When the eye of the storm passes over:
DO: Stay indoors. Continue to observe all instructions from the EMO and continue to keep your family away from windows and doors.
DO NOT: Leave your house to begin to clean up, explore storm damage, check on neighbours or stretch your legs. Any clean-up work will be a waste of time once the second half of the hurricane passes over – and you put yourself in danger of being hit by debris when the winds return.