Irma leaves death and destruction in Caribbean
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, was churning its way across the Caribbean after battering the Leeward Islands yesterday, leaving at least one person dead and millions of dollars in damages.
But as the storm moved towards St Thomas and Puerto Rico, residents in the chain of islands were eyeing Hurricane JosÈ that the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 5 p.m. (local time yesterday), had become a hurricane with winds of 75 miles per hour (mph) and located 1,040 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
There was at least one death in the English-speaking Caribbean countries, although there have been unconfirmed reports that at least two people died in the French-speaking territory of St Martin as Hurricane Irma made its way across the region.
Irma, packing winds of 185 miles per hour (mph), first hit Antigua and Barbuda before embarking upon its path of destruction.
The French government said it was worried that thousands of people had refused to seek shelters on St Martin and Saint Barthelemy, where Irma left a trail of devastation as homes, hotels and government buildings were reduced to rubble.