By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Sept. 6, 2017: As Hurricane Irma, one of the biggest Atlantic Hurricanes ever with 185-mph winds, barreled to just 50 miles outside Antigua and Barbuda as of 11 p.m. last night, nationals in the Antiguan US Diaspora were praying for their island and loved ones back home.
Some used Whatsapp to share prayers from New
York-based, Antiguan church leaders while other Diaspora nationals like Sheila Newton Moses said relatives and friends there were calling her on the App and saying “goodbyes” because they were afraid the catastrophic category 5 storm could claim their lives.
In Miami, Florida, the island’s Counsel General, Gilbert A. Boustany, used Facebook to urge nationals to also pray for Antigua and Barbuda.
He also revealed that the consulate has secured a warehouse in Miami to consolidate future relief supplies with Diaspora organizations.
Boustany said the government had provided funds for emergency supplies to be sent off to Antigua ahead of the storm and two cargo planes with approximately 100 tons of essential supplies could land on Thursday morning.
The storm’s impact was already being felt in many of the islands under watches and warnings last night. Winds had picked up across many of the islands including Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Martin and a steady rain had begun to fall.
In St. Martin many battened down for the storm, some gathering in groups to ride it out while some others prepared by wrapping their cars in plastic or adding life vests to it.
In Dominica the surf began rising as it poured over the seawall in Melville Hall.
With a strong hurricane approaching the Northeast Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp closed early Tuesday. With the most severe effects of Hurricane Irma expected today, Wednesday, September 6, 2017, government offices will remain closed.
In Anguilla, the core of the storm was forecast to be 77 miles ESE, closing the Blowing Point and Road Bay seaports and the Clayton J Lloyd International Airport.
While the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism anticipates temporary closure of airports and ports on the southernmost islands of Inagua, Acklins, Crooked Islands, Mayaguana, Long Cay, Semana Cay and Ragged Islands.
“We take this storm seriously. The safety of the Caribbean’s citizens and our visitors is the number one concern for the authorities and emergency response teams throughout the region,” added the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
National Hurricane Center Update
At 11 PM last night, the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 17.4 North, longitude 61.1 West. A hurricane warning was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, and Sint Maarten, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra; the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti and Guadeloupe.
A Hurricane watch was in effect for Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas; the Turks and Caicos Islands; Southeastern Bahamas and Cuba from Matanzas province eastward to Guantanamo province.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Dominica and the Dominican Republic from south of Cabo Engano westward to the southern border with Haiti while a Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for Haiti from south of Le Mole St. Nicholas to Port-Au-Prince.