At 6:00 a.m. local time (1000 GMT), Irma’s core was located at 22.5 degrees north latitude and 79.0 degrees west longitude, exactly over Santa Maria island and about 50 km east southeast of the town of Caibarien in central Villa Clara province, Cuban’s Institute of Meteorology reported.
A number of Calgarians are still eager to hit the beach in Cuba and are awaiting their flight that’s scheduled to depart later on Thursday morning. Tropical-storm-force winds could be felt earlier.
Irma will continue to bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to portions of the Bahamas and the north coast of Cuba, especially over the adjacent Cuban Keys, through tonight.
However, Inskeep did warn the hurricane may affect their communications “for a while”. Even though a watch had not yet been announced for Havana, long lines formed outside supermarkets in the capital to stock up on hurricane supplies.
The interaction of Irma’s circulation with Cuba is responsible for some of the weakening of the hurricane.
Last year, for example, Hurricane Matthew hit the the easternmost tip of Cuba and western Haiti as a category 4 storm with very different results.
Cuban authorities are taking Irma seriously.
Thomas Cook has sent 18 members of its “Special Assistance Team” to Cuba and the Dominican Republic to help thousands of its customers as Hurricane Irma is expected to hit the islands today.
Forecasts include significant flooding and damage to low-lying coastal areas of the northern coast of all of these provinces.
Heather Nauert, a State Department spokesperson, tweeted that the department also was recommending US citizens depart Cuba as well as the Dominican Republican and Haiti before Irma approaches. Possible flood warnings are also in place for low-lying areas of the southeastern Cuban coast.