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Gary Tuchman: Bermuda is opposite of paradise

CNN's Gary Tuchman
CNN's Gary Tuchman

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Hurricane Fabian is bearing down on Bermuda. CNN's Gary Tuchman talks to a happy couple whose plans to get married outside are getting all wet.
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(CNN) -- The northern eye of Hurricane Fabian crossed Bermuda Friday afternoon, pounding the western Atlantic group of islands with the most powerful winds to hit the British territory in more than 70 years.

CNN anchor John King discussed the storm's impact with CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman who is reporting from the southwest part of Bermuda:

KING: What's the situation right now?

TUCHMAN: The paradise of Bermuda is now the antithesis of a paradise. It's meteorological misery.

For more than three hours now, we've been standing out here experiencing hurricane-force winds. It's still believed we have a couple of hours left. The National Hurricane Center says the winds have been up to 125 miles per hour, sustained at 115 miles per hour, which makes this the most powerful hurricane to directly hit the islands of Bermuda since 1926, 77 years.

We're standing right now on the southwest portion of this British territory. The ocean you can't see anymore, even though we're standing right next to it, the visibility is so poor. But we've seen palm trees. We've seen furniture. We've seen a restaurant just crash into the ocean and get swallowed up by the roiling, angry waters.

It is impossible right now to ascertain if there have been any casualties of any kind in Bermuda. There is really no way to get around, because the main roads are all covered with trees, with power lines, branches. We tried to drive. We couldn't get five minutes past the point we're at right now at the beach. And we had to turn back. And on the way back, a huge branch from one of the trees fell right on top of our car.

So it gives you an idea of what people here are contending with. Unlike many hurricanes, where you're in Florida or Texas or North Carolina, we advise the viewers to go inland to get away from trouble. But for the people here who live here, the 63,000, and the tourists who've decided not to leave, there is nowhere to go. The airports are closed.

They are basically trapped. And they can't even leave where they are right now, which they shouldn't anyway, because there's just no way to get around in a vehicle. And to walk is just impossible with these hurricane-force winds.

KING: Give us a sense of the preparations there. Do they seem well-prepared for this?

TUCHMAN: Yes, they certainly did have their act together.

And one of the reasons they had their act together has nothing to do with the preparations of the last couple of days and everything to do with Bermuda's strict building codes. Very high per capita income in Bermuda, $71,000, means they can enforce these codes, which require 8-inch-thick walls when you build a home. That's very thick. And your home is supposed to be able to withstand gusts of up to 150 miles per hour.

Therefore, they should have no problems. And so far, in the limited traveling we've done around the island, we've seen parts of roofs come off. We've seen parts of buildings. But we haven't seen any entire collapses yet.


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