Several Caribbean Islands Face Another Big Storm
Several northern Caribbean islands already reeling under the effects of Killer Hurricane Irma could be in line for a
second pounding this weekend, courtesy Hurricane Jose.
Both systems are expected to continue wreaking havoc in the region and the southern United States, especially Florida, with Jose reaching Category 4 status yesterday.
The islands of St. Martin and Barbuda were especially hard hit in the storm on Wednesday, and officials there are continuing to assess the damage. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also battered.
Irma delivered massive destruction to St. Martin, and at least eight people were killed and 21 more injured on the small
island, according to French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb. The Caribbean’s death toll was just at 23 yesterday.
A hurricane watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, all islands that have already been badly hit by Irma.
U.S. authorities were trying to get some 6,000 Americans off of St. Martin yesterday as Jose approached. Other islands also rushed to evacuate residents. Some 300 people had been evacuated from Barbuda by Thursday night, according to the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.
Meanwhile, the islands tried to take stock of the damage that had already occurred.
The death toll continued to climb in the U.S. Virgin Islands Friday morning, with at least four people reported dead. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett described “devastation” on the islands. St. Thomas and St. John were completely without power and St. Thomas no longer had a working 911 system, Plaskett said.
Although the islands were prepared for a hurricane, with buildings built to withstand serious storms, Plaskett said the islands’ infrastructure proved no match for Irma’s powerful winds. “There wasn’t much that could be done,” she said.
The hurricane passed by Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Thursday before churning on toward the Turks and Caicos, where it pummeled the islands early Friday.
Irma downed power lines and ripped off roofs in Grand Turk, the capital of the British overseas territory. Communication went down in the Turks and Caicos as the storm hit and it was still unclear Friday morning how much damage had occurred. There were reports of roofs getting ripped off and widespread blackouts and flooding.
In Haiti, flooding was reported in the country’s northwest region and a major national road connecting Cap-Haitien to Ouanaminthe was rendered impassible after a river washed over it, the country’s Office of Civil Protection reported. Homes were damaged, but there were no reports of deaths as of Friday morning.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic reported some power outages and fallen trees blocking roads, but by Friday morning the ports had resumed operations.
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