First 24 hours of destruction as Hurricane Irma tears through Atlantic

The most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm in recorded history is sweeping across the Caribbean leaving destruction in its wake.

Hurricane Irma howled past Puerto Rico on Wednesday after thrashing several smaller islands with tree-snapping winds, drenching rains and pounding surf on a collision course with Florida.

The tiny island of Barbuda, which has a population of 1,800, and was devastated.

 Its Prime Minister Gaston Browne said: “Barbuda is literally rubble. The entire housing stock was damaged. It is just a total devastation.”

His government estimated destruction on Barbuda was “upwards of 90 per cent”.

As Irma hit the Caribbean, with winds of 185mph that sounded like a freight train, buildings were destroyed and hotels flooded.

The eye of Irma was passing just north of Puerto Rico late on Wednesday, buffeting the U.S. island territory’s capital, San Juan, with heavy downpours and strong winds that scattered tree limbs across roadways.

“The winds that we are experiencing right now are like nothing we have experienced before,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello told CNN. “We expect a lot of damage, perhaps not as much as was seen in Barbuda.”

British tourists were evacuated from the region or hunkered down amid warnings the storm was “potentially catastrophic”.   So far seven deaths have been reported- six in St Martin and one, a two-year-old child, in Barbuda

As the Caribbean takes stock of the trail of devastation, Florida is preparing for a potential direct strike.   The eye of the hurricane passed over Barbuda at around 1.47am (5.47am BST).


Share This Page

  Share your giving story!

Want to share your insights and be featured on the Giving Life Blog?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *