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Tornadoes Tear Roofs Off Homes in Bermuda

January 11, 1986

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) _ Tornadoes hit Bermuda’s south and north shores Saturday, tearing roofs from at least 30 homes, sinking boats and causing other damage, officials said. No casualties were reported.

A tornado struck the south shore’s Devonshire area Saturday morning and another touched down on the north at St. David’s less than two hours later, the weather service and local police said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Roger Sherratt said the first tornado ″cut across the island, ripping off the roofs of at least 30 houses.″

Officials also said boats went down off the island, in the Atlantic Ocean, about 600 miles off North Carolina.

The Sonesta Beach Hotel, popular with tourists, is in Devonshire but no damage was reported there. Smaller tourist hotels also are in the area.

St. David’s is adjacent to the U.S. Naval Air Station, where 3,500 U.S. service and civilian personnel live and work.

Lt. Scott Loveless said, ″It came across our airfield and through a residential area, but no one was hurt. It blew down some fencing and some garages.″

All of Bermuda’s emergency services were called out, including the fire brigade, the local army, the police and government workers.

″I don’t think we have ever had tornadoes of such severity, all within such a short space of time.″ said Sgt. John Instone, another police spokesman. ″We have had two tornadoes, and more are expected.″

The weather service said conditions remained favorable for more tornadoes, and advised the island’s 60,000 residents to remain on the alert, but by Saturday afternoon the weather appeared to be clearing up.

This is the off-season for tourists on the 22-mile-long island, a British dependency which thrives on the tourist trade.

Tornadoes are extremely unusual for Bermuda, which is in the warm Gulf Stream in the Atlantic.

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