Hurricane Irma is path in Atlantic Ocean And Florida – Daily News


Hurricane Irma is path in Atlantic Ocean And Florida

In Puerto Rico, some residents are preparing to be without electricity for up to four months.

In St. Thomas, part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, people are praying their roofs hold.

Throughout these American territories and other Caribbean islands in Hurricane Irma’s path, there was widespread fear Tuesday, even in the face of preemptive emergency declarations, that this ferocious and possibly historic Category 5 storm will mean a long, painstaking journey back to normalcy.

Irma is predicted to become the strongest hurricane on record to hit the Leeward Islands, a band of territories and commonwealths stretching southeast from Puerto Rico. At 11 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center declared it a “potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane” that was just off the northern Leewards.

Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Anguilla all are in its direct path, and one meteorology expert issued this grave prediction: “The Leeward Islands are going to get destroyed,” said Colorado State University professor Phil Klotzbach. “I just pray that this thing wobbles and misses them,” Klotzbach told the Associated Press. “This is a serious storm.”

Hurricane warnings have been issued for Antigua, Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, as well as parts of the Dominican Republic. Irma’s center could pass to the north of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, leaving them less prone to the storm’s most ferocious elements, but damaging winds, pounding rain and a large storm surge remain likely.

When Antigua’s airport was closed Tuesday, visitors were sent away with advice to seek protection from the storm and a prayer, “May God protect us all.”

It’s been chaos all day long,” said Andrea Pujols, who lives in Guaynabo, a suburb of Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan. “There’s nothing left at the supermarket. They’re saying the airport will be closed for days. They’re saying there’s not going to be any light for three to four months.”

Pujols, 26, spoke to The Washington Post on Tuesday night as she and her father, 55-year-old Edwin Pujols, raced to the airport to retrieve her mother, who was returning home from a trip to Pittsburgh ahead of the storm, having refused to let her family ride out Irma without her. The three will be holed up at home with Andrea Pujols’s grandmother and dog, Lady.

In and around their city, which is not expected to see much flooding, they said, several churches have opened as shelters for those who have evacuated — and for those forced to do so later.

To prepare, the Pujols family stocked up on canned food, water and fuel for their small generator. It provides enough power to run some lights and fans, which in the absence of air conditioning should offer mild reprieve from the wilting tropical air.

They’ve even filled several large garbage cans, anticipating that water and sewer service will be disrupted “for who knows how long,” Edwin Pujols said.


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