Hurricane Irma – the most powerful the Atlantic Ocean has ever been hit by – has caused monstrous destruction across the Caribbean.
The eye of the hurricane passed over Barbuda at around 5.47am (BST) this morning – completely destroying the island – as well as causing catastrophic damage in surrounding countries such as Antigua.
Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has revealed how the island has suffered hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage in the ‘unprecedented’ destruction.
I’m of the view that as it stands now Barbuda is barely habitable. Barbuda right now is literally a rubble.
Officials had warned people to seek protection from Irma’s ‘onslaught’ in a statement which closed with: ‘May God protect us all.’
Neighbouring islands, including Anguilla and the Virgin Islands – Richard Branson owns a home on one of the British ones – have also been caught up in the path of the storm.
Branson and his family revealed on social media how they sought refuge during the destructing hurricane.
Irma is said to be making it’s way up towards Florida, with President Donald Trump declaring emergencies in the the state, along with the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
St Maarten’s famous Princess Juliana airport – where planes fly over beachgoers’ heads – has been destroyed by the 185mph winds.
Huge rocks are said to have smashed into planes, while boarding walkways were destroyed by the downpour of rain and gusts of wind.
Michel Hyman, COO/Acting CEO of the airport, said in a statement:
We regret any inconvenience this will cause, but must stress that the safety and security of all is priority number one at SXM Airport.
— Bondtehond (@Bondtehond) September 6, 2017
The National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma’s magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928 – which killed 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.
According to the Associated Press, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said:
The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen.
A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.
— Peter Jan de Vin (@C_ZMCARIB) September 6, 2017
As well as Hurricane Irma, countries are being threatened with the news Hurricane Jose is on its way, as well as Tropical Storm Katia.
Katia is believed to be heading towards the east coast of Mexico. Tropical Storm Jose was upgraded to hurricane status overnight, but its path is still unclear.
Storm seem almost certain to hit the United States by early next week, with evacuations taking place in the state of Florida.