Hurricane Irma, One of the Most Powerful in History, Roars Across Caribbean

250
1162

Hurricane Irma brought howling winds and pelting rain to San Juan, P.R., on Wednesday. Credit Alvin Baez/Reuters

SAN JUAN, P.R. — Hurricane Irma struck the northeast Caribbean with terrifying force Wednesday, its battering rain and winds of up to 185 miles per hour leaving a trail of chaos, wreckage and flooding from Barbuda to Puerto Rico, before taking aim at islands farther west and, beyond them, Florida.

Already one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, Irma could become one of the most destructive as well, depending on its path, and officials from Turks and Caicos to Florida pleaded with people to heed advisories to evacuate to shelters and higher ground. The National Hurricane Center described the hurricane as “potentially catastrophic.”

The storm made direct hits on Barbuda, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, and raked the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with hurricane-force wind and torrential rain. Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said Irma had destroyed 95 percent of the structures on Barbuda, an island with about 1,600 people.

The authorities confirmed that the hurricane had killed at least one person in Antigua and Barbuda; one on Anguilla, a British possession; and two in French territory, which includes St. Barthélemy and the northern part of St. Martin. Another died in Puerto Rico while preparing for the storm.

Irma “will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge and rainfall hazards” to Puerto Rico on Wednesday and to the northern coast of Hispaniola, which includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti, on Thursday, the Hurricane Center warned. It will pass directly over — or very near — the low-lying islands of Turks and Caicos, a British possession, and parts of the Bahamas on Thursday and Friday, the center forecast, and push a storm surge of seawater 15 to 20 feet high. The surge could put large parts of the islands under water.

Across the islands that were hit on Wednesday, people posted videos and photos online of the hurricane’s fury: debris flying sideways in near-zero visibility, roofs ripped off structures, waves surging into buildings, downed trees and utility poles, and streets that had turned into raging currents carrying away cars and trucks.

The French interior minister, Gérard Collomb, said the four sturdiest buildings on St. Martin had been destroyed, “which means that in all likelihood the more rustic buildings are probably totally or partially destroyed.”

https://twitter.com/EUStormMap/status/905415047605870592/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2017%2F09%2F06%2Fus%2Fhurricane-irma-caribbean.html

With phone lines and electricity cut in many places, and roads impassable, President Emmanuel Macron of France and other officials said it was far too early to assess the true toll, in either lives or property.

The aftermath of the storm will be “harsh and cruel,” Mr. Macron said after a crisis meeting at the Interior Ministry in Paris. “We will have victims to lament, and the material damage on the two islands is considerable.”

The devastating winds left many scrambling for safety.

Carmen Caballero, a 69-year-old retired doctor, was unsure at first whether to vacate her two-story home in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It is made of concrete, but has a metal roof that she feared might be ripped away. Then the power went out, the pelting rain and howling wind began, and she could hear debris crashing into things around her house and see tree branches falling into the streets.

She packed some water bottles, nuts, medicines, linens and other supplies in her car and drove to the shelter at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum. “All my neighbors left too,” she said over the phone from there. “I wasn’t going to stay alone in my house!”

On Culebra, a small, rustic Puerto Rican island east of the main island, José Pérez, the municipality’s director of emergency management, took shelter with about 65 other people at a public high school Wednesday afternoon. Like many people there, he said, he lives in a wooden home.

“Right now we are feeling the fury of this hurricane,” Mr. Pérez said in Spanish by phone. “I was 13 and I obviously remember Hurricane Hugo, but this is something incomparable. This is something terrible, an experience out of this world.”

Registering at a shelter at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. Credit Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

Kelsey Nowakowski and some friends boarded up her house on St. Thomas, part of the United States Virgin Islands, and hunkered down, listening to the howling and thumping outside. “Based on the water we took in we think there is significant damage to the roof but don’t think it blew off yet,” she said.

“We’ve all been in hurricanes before. There are five of us here, but have never felt anything like this before,” she added. “It feels seismic, it feels catastrophic.”

Alex Woolfall, a British public relations consultant who was staying at the Westin resort on the Dutch side of St. Martin, posted a stream of alarming updates on Twitter while taking shelter with other guests in the hotel’s reinforced stairwell. He described “thunderous sonic boom noises” and the “scream of things being hurled against the building.”

“This is like a movie I never want to see,” he wrote.

Throughout the region, communication was spotty at best; calls to people, businesses and government agencies — even the British Virgin Islands Department of Disaster Management — rang without being answered, or did not ring at all.

“Stuff is flying around outside, and the visibility is down to about 20 to 30 feet, and we haven’t hit the peak yet,” Gerry Yandel, executive editor of The Virgin Islands Daily News, said in the early afternoon. Two hours later, calls to the newspaper could not get through.

A JetBlue flight from San Juan to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was canceled only after the passengers — many of them trying to get back to their homes in Florida — had checked out of hotels and gone to the airport. The 97 passengers were taken instead to the Clemente Coliseum, along with hundreds of others seeking shelter.

“Tempers got a little heated; I had to control the situation,” said Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan. “That’s like a spark in a gasoline tank. Five hundred people in one place: If one of them gets out of whack, it could have a ripple effect.”

She said the city was ready for whatever may come, having stockpiled fuel, ice and medication. The mayor said she, her family and their dogs would stay at the stadium, too.

“If they get wet, I get wet,” she said.

Irma hit just days after Hurricane Harvey caused record flooding in Texas. With two other storms now reaching hurricane status — José, trailing behind Irma, and Katia, in the Gulf of Mexico — meteorologists noted the unusual occurrence of three hurricanes forming at once in the Atlantic basin.

Hurricane Irma’s maximum sustained winds of 185 m.p.h. have been matched by only three other Atlantic storms; the last, Hurricane Wilma, was in 2005. By Wednesday afternoon, Irma had kept that wind speed for over 24 hours, the longest period ever recorded.

The storm first made landfall on Barbuda about 2 a.m., then ripped across several more islands without losing intensity, traveling west-northwest. Puerto Rico was spared the worst of the storm’s wrath as it churned past in the evening. The center of the storm stayed about 50 miles north of the island.

Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, issued a mandatory evacuation order on Wednesday. Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, advised people to evacuate some areas. In South Florida, which has millions of people and only two major highways, Interstates 95 and 75, to take people farther north, traffic and fuel shortages were already becoming problems as people tried to get out of the storm’s path.

Even so, more evacuation orders and advisories are expected in other parts of the region, and officials urged people to follow them, assuring the public that plenty of shelter space will be available.

“I cannot stress this enough,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “Do not ignore evacuation orders. We can rebuild your home but we cannot rebuild your life.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/us/hurricane-irma-caribbean.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-ab-top-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

-Advertisement-

250 COMMENTS

  1. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

  2. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to seek out someone with some authentic ideas on this subject. realy thank you for starting this up. this website is one thing that’s wanted on the web, someone with slightly originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  3. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through a
    few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyways,
    I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  4. Wonderful website you have here but I was curious if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here?
    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get advice from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Thanks a lot!

  5. I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.

    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it
    yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today.

  6. A person essentially help to make seriously articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish amazing. Wonderful job!

  7. It was actually great reading this info and I think you are entirely right. Inform me in case you are thinking about Arvind Pandit Kansas, that is my principal expertise. I’m hoping to see you soon enough, bye for now!

  8. Hello there I’m truly thrilled I found out this webpage, I actually encountered you by accident, while I was browsing on Bing for thai lottery today. Nonetheless I am here now and would simply love to say thank you for a fantastic blog post and the all round thrilling blog (I also like the theme/design), I don’t have sufficient time to read it all at the minute though I have saved it and even included your RSS feeds, so whenever I have the time I’ll be back to read more. Please do maintain the wonderful work.

  9. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn at appear. Grrrr well I am not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  10. Very nice post and right to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thx

  11. Hi and thanks for your great posting! I actually appreciated reading it.I will be sure to save this website and will often return very soon. I would like to suggest that you keep on with the fine posts, maybe blog about outdoor intercom system too, have a good day!

  12. Hey there, You’ve performed a great job. I’ll definitely digg it and in my view recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  13. Fantastic blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed in this
    article? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get feedback from
    other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Kudos!

  14. Our LGV (Large Goods Vehicle) HGV training is based in East London, and our LGV/ HGV courses are taught by qualified DVSA LGV & HGV trainers. LGV was formerly known as HGV, where it used to be referred to as HGV Class 2 (now called LGV Category C) and HGV class 1 (Now called LGV Category C+E).

  15. I am definitely loving the theme of your internet site. Do you ever face any kind of web browser interface issues? A few of my own blog visitors have complained regarding my free movies website not working correctly in Explorer though looks amazing in Chrome. Do you have any kind of recommendations to help correct that matter?

  16. Hello there can you inform me which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to begin our site on injury claim lawyers in the near future though I’m having a hard time making the decision.

  17. Thank you for this excellent post! I definitely enjoyed reading it.I’ll make certain to take note of your blog and will return from now on. I want to encourage you to keep going with your nice job, possibly think about pokemon as well, have a wonderful morning!

  18. Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking a few minutes and
    actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  19. I felt amazing reading this article and I think you’re totally right. Let me know in the event that you’re curious about electric lawn mower, that’s my main competency. I am hoping to check back with you in the near future, be careful!

  20. Many thanks for your excellent content! I certainly appreciated it.I will ensure that I take note of this blog and will often come back very soon. I would love to suggest you to keep on with the good writing, even write about heat pump maintenance also, have a fine evening!

  21. I think other site proprietors should take this web site as an model, very clean and wonderful user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

  22. It was actually wonderful to read this and I feel you’re absolutely correct. Inform me in the event that you are looking into canon printer help, that’s my principal competency. I really hope to hear from you soon, be careful!

  23. This very blog is definitely interesting and besides factual. I have discovered a bunch of interesting tips out of this blog. I ad love to visit it again soon. Thanks!

  24. Hi there, you are definitely right. I constantly read your content closely. I’m furthermore focused on adventure games, perhaps you could write about that sometimes. Good bye!

  25. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and magnificent user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You are an expert in this topic!

  26. Undoubtedly advantageous mindset, thank you for sharing with us.. Liking the posting.. all the best Enjoying the posting.. bless you Value the posting you given..

  27. You are absolutely right and I agree with you. Whenever you want, we might as well speak regarding overnight shipping, something which intrigues me. Your website is certainly great, all the best!

  28. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  29. Maintain аАа’аАТ‚аЂТ˜em coming you all do such a great career at this kind of Concepts can at tell you how considerably I, for one appreciate all you do!

  30. I’а†ve read numerous excellent stuff here. Unquestionably worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how lots attempt you set to create this sort of good informative website.

  31. Google

    That will be the end of this write-up. Here you’ll obtain some websites that we consider you’ll enjoy, just click the hyperlinks.

  32. This is very interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  33. My family and I totally like your site and find nearly all of your content to be exactly what I am trying to find. Would you offer people to write content for you? I would not mind creating a story relating to mesothelioma attorney or maybe on a few of the things you’re writing about on this website. Cool place!

  34. You have made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

  35. You can certainly see your enthusiasm within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren at afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

  36. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice article.

  37. My spouse and I really love your website and find nearly all of your discussions to be what precisely I’m searching for. Would you offer guest writers to create content material for you? I wouldn’t mind creating an article regarding free movies online for free or maybe on many of the subjects you are writing about on this website. Awesome internet site!

  38. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more
    or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here