Hurricane Irma ‘pulverizing eyewall’ to hit Puerto Rico – shocking track pictures emerging

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
By Paul Martin

HURRICANE Irma has smashed into the islands of St Barts, St Martin and the Virgin Islands and its ‘pulverizing eyewall is now heading for Puerto Rico as models reveal the “strongest Atlantic hurricane ever” will surge through the Caribbean en route to Florida.

Wed, Sep 6, 2017

The National Weather Service said the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda, a small island located near Antigua in the northeastern Caribbean, at 1.47am local time (6.47am BST).

The National Hurricane Centre said Irma was maintaining category five strength with sustained winds near 185 mph (295 kph).

Residents and tourists in the region have been told to stay inside – with the French weather office reporting that St Martin and St Barts have now been struck by the storm.

Daniel Gibbs, president of the territorial community of St Martin, told local media: “We have never seen this in Saint-Martin. Even the walls are shaking.”

Communications are down for thousands and attempts to contact the islands have largely been unsuccessful.

Jim Cantore, weather forecaster at The Weather Channel said: “Given #Irma has remained on the southern edge of the guidance envelope is cause for concern. Could put PR deeper into a pulverizing eyewall.”

Images are emerging showing the true extent of the devastation, with winds and floods battering the tropical islands.

One French media outlet received a text message from St Barts Senator Michel Magras which read: ”Hello, I am sorry, I am shocked by the monster that covers us, the island is devastated, it is apocalyptic, a lot of damage, many roofs destroyed. We are currently living the second part of the hurricane.”

The weather station on St Bart’s measured winds of 151mph (244kph) as Irma approached the island – but the monitoring equipment has since been destroyed by the hurricane.

Meanwhile, French interior minister Gerard Collomb says the St Martin government buildings – the most sturdy there on the islands – have been destroyed.

He told reporters: ”We know that the four most solid buildings on the island have been destroyed which means that more rustic structures have probably been completely or partially destroyed.”

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