Montserrat Spared Irma’s Wrath, Barbuda, St. Maarten Receives Major Damage

Montserrat is breathing a sigh of relief that the island did not get the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s wrath. The hurricane wreaked havoc over Barbuda and is now doing the same for St. Maarten/St. Martin. Images from the French side of the island, show significant damage of major buildings. There is flooding in the French Quarter and a housing project received major damage.

The police station on Barbuda lost its roof and the police had to take refuge in the fire station, ABS News reported shortly after 2AM on Wednesday.

Philipshurg, St Maarten (Source: Cyriel Pfennings – Richardson)

According to the 8AM report, Irma is centered about 15 miles west of St. Martin, moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h). This general motion is expected to continue for the next couple of days. On the forecast track, the extremely dangerous core of Irma will move over portions of the northern Virgin Islands today, pass near or just north of Puerto Rico this afternoon or tonight, and pass near or just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic Thursday.

Maximum sustained winds remain near 185 mph (295 km/h) with higher gusts. Irma is a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A wind gust to 90 mph (146 km/h) was recently on the island of St. Eustatius located south of the eye of Irma. A NOAA National Ocean Service station on Barbuda reported sustained winds of 118 mph (190 km/h) with a gust to 155 mph (249 km/h) before the instrument failed earlier this morning. The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from an Air Force Reserve aircraft and earlier surface observations is 918 mb (27.11 inches). A NOAA National Ocean Service station on Barbuda
reported a minimum pressure of 916.1 mb (27.05 inches) earlier this morning.

Princess Juliana International Airport in St. Maarten ( FB Photo)

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti, Guadeloupe, the Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Southeastern Bahamas Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province and the Central Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the southern border with Haiti.

Users are reminded to not focus on the exact forecast track, especially at the longer ranges, since the average NHC track errors are about 175 and 225 statute miles at days 4 and 5, respectively.

For details on impacts, go to www.nhc.noaa.gov/#Irma

The next complete advisory will be issued by the National Hurricane Center at 11 a/m/ AST/EDT - www.hurricanes.gov

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