Islanders flee hurricane Irma

LONDON - Islands in the Caribbean have made last-minute preparations for Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, with officials warning of its "potentially catastrophic" effects.

The category five hurricane, the highest possible level, has sustained wind speeds reaching 300km/h (185mph).

It made landfall in the Leeward Islands and will move on towards Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

In the US, Florida's Key West area has ordered a mandatory evacuation.

The eye of the storm hit the island of Barbuda, which has a population of around 2,000 people at about 02:00 local time (06:00 GMT).

Winds gusted at 250km/h, before the recording equipment broke and no further readings were received.

"Early indications seem to show that Antigua has not been too badly hit, but we cannot say the same for Barbuda as we don't yet know," reported Antigua's ABS radio.

The Antigua Observer said it had received initial reports of roofs being blown off on both islands.

Next in the hurricane's path is St Kitts and Nevis. President Timothy Harris said on Twitter: "All of our national security agencies have been fully mobilised and are on the highest alert."

Thousands of people have been evacuated from at-risk areas across the Caribbean. Residents have flocked to shops for food, water, and emergency supplies.

Airports have closed on several islands, popular holiday destinations, and authorities have urged people to go to public shelters.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.