Hurricane Irma is now among the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, and it’s approaching our neighbors in the northeast Caribbean.
The US National Hurricane Centre said its hurricane hunter aircraft measured windspeeds of 185 miles per hour.
Right now, Irma is a potentially catastrophic category five storm, and she’s bearing down on the Leeward islands. Current forecast models have her continuing along westward. Irma is expected to be over Anguilla by Wednesday morning, just to the north of Hispaniola by Thursday morning, and in the vicinity of Turks and Caicos and Eastern Cuba by Friday morning.
Now if that information makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, you’re not alone. With Irma inching closer by the day, many are stocking up on supplies.
“Anybody that remembers Ivan knows that it tracked south like that, so, it’s kind of got people’s attention.
With the storm’s centre some 15-hundred miles away, and her future path still unclear, Cox Lumber’s Rick Hurt told Cayman 27 hurricane Irma is sending many to the stores to get stocked up.
“Once the category five designation was hit, we started getting more request for pricing for wood, your paneling, your ply boards, all of that,” said Mr. Hurt. “Since two days ago we had runs on water, we had runs on tarps, we had runs on a lot of our products that you see behind us, batteries, flashlights, stuff like that.”
“The storm is a long way off, and it is possible that it could go just about anywhere,” said Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director McCleary Frederick.
Mr. Frederick said while Irma is not yet projected to effect Cayman, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
“We are in the peak of the hurricane season and as you can see there is another storm that has developed right behind Irma, so we are not out of the wood,” said Mr. Frederick.
He told Cayman 27 if and when the National Weather Service deems Irma a threat to Cayman, Hazard Management will sound the alarm.
“First alert at 72 hours, then you will go to a watch at 48 hours, then at 36 hours it will be a warning,” he explained.
Back at Cox lumber, Mr. Hurt said his personal preparations are already in full swing.
“We have already had the tree surgeon to the house, and any limbs that are excessive have been cut down, water has already been bought, scramble up the canned goods and the crackers and all that kind of stuff,” said Mr. Hurt.
Here are a few things to consider as we keep our eyes on Irma’s path, especially for pet owners.
Pets are not welcome at public shelters, so if you’re a pet owner, you’re encouraged to find a safe space for your animal in the event you are forced to leave your home. If you make the choice to evacuate, the best thing to do is take your pet with you. The Department of Agriculture can advise on the requirements.
And if you must leave your pet at home, prepare an easily cleaned area away from windows, with several days of food and water in non-spilllable containers.