Cuban dolphins get helicopter ride to safety from Irma

In a news release Thursday, the highway patrol said extra troopers, road rangers and wreckers will be on the roadways to help drivers whose vehicles have become disabled.

Those islands include Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti.

St. Maarten’s Sonesta resorts on Maho Beach, Ocean Point and Great Bay Beach also suffered significant damage.

“Santiago said Grand Hyatt Baha Mar personnel are working to “[secure] the properties’ exterior” in anticipation of the storm.

In early Friday, Irma pounded the north coast of the province of Guantanamo particularly the towns of Maisi and Baracoa where it caused floods and heavy rains.

Liautaud, who has family and friends in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien, said he hoped all Haitians back home will heed warnings from their government, which issued a country-wide red alert Wednesday.

Sunwing says it’s activated plans to bring customers home from all destinations under a hurricane watch or warning.

There is no word yet as to when the airport-a major global gateway for US and European travelers heading to smaller islands in the Caribbean-will re-open. Irma hit the Camaguey Archipelago with almost 160 miles per hour winds as local authorities and US-based media report.

Several islands have already sustained some loss of life and significant property damage.

Duncan says there are “unconfirmed reports of a number of fatalities” as a result of the hurricane.

Another storm, Jose, further out in the Atlantic behind Irma, is now a category four hurricane, with winds of up to 240km/h (150mph).

Balmy water temperatures along Irma’s trajectory ran deep beneath the surface and slightly higher than normal, by as much as a degree Fahrenheit in places, providing ample fuel for the storm’s development, scientists said. “Houses are under water, cars are floating through the streets, inhabitants are sitting in the dark, in ruined houses and are cut off from the outside world”.

Officials across the islands have struggled to gauge the scope of destruction, after Irma knocked out electricity and cell phone service, and forced airports to close.

Hurricane Irma was classified as a category 5 hurricane on Tuesday and has left a trail of devastation in the Caribbean as it heads towards Florida. At the other end of the climate crisis spectrum, he says, continuing to respond to drought and conflict-related starvation in Somalia and Kenya and hunger and a refugee crisis in South Sudan.

At least 10 people are believed to have died – a two-year-old child in Barbuda, one person in Anguilla, and eight in the French part of St Martin. We are expecting tropical storm level winds that should not exceed 50 miles per hour.

While the capital Havana is expected to be spared the worst of Irma’s wrath, cities such as Ciego de Avila and Santa Clara in the island’s central provinces appear at risk of significant damage.

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