Menacing Hurricane Irma powers forward
Even as it watches closely, Jamaica is assessing the level of assistance it can offer to islands across the Caribbean region that have been devastated by Hurricane Irma, now a powerful Category Five storm.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness made contact with heads of government across the Caribbean whose countries have been affected.
"This is a period of assessment and planning to ascertain what Jamaica can do to assist our Caribbean brothers and sisters who have been significantly impacted by the most powerful hurricane to have entered the Atlantic Ocean," Holness said in a statement.
Gov't assistance for J'cans
Jamaicans currently in these affected countries have also been assured of assistance from their homeland.
Holness was advised by executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, that he has briefed CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin Larocque and Chair, Dr Keith Mitchell, indicating that first responders are on standby, subject to requests from national offices in affected islands.
Irma formed in the Atlantic last week and rapidly grew into a major hurricane, posing a threat to nine of the 18 CDEMA participating states including: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Dominica, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos, and the Virgin Islands.
... Severe flooding not expected in Ja due to Irma
Effects from the massive Category Five Hurricane Irma are not expected to be severely felt in Jamaica, according to meteorologist Evan Thompson.
However, he said Jamaicans should look out for periods of heavy rainfall over the weekend, which is not expected to cause flooding.
"(Irma) is moving in our general direction. We are in the western part of the Caribbean, and it is heading toward the western part of the Caribbean, but is too far north to directly impact us. Impacts are most likely to be felt on Friday into Saturday, with bands of rain from the system," Thompson told The Gleaner yesterday.
"Usually, there are spiral bands that provide the moisture to the hurricane. They spiral in towards the centre of the system. Most of those usually extend from the south. Jamaica being on the southern side of the
system would most likely have some of those bands pulled across us, and those are the bands that could provide rainfall on Saturday. We expect that there may be periods of heavy rainfall, but we are not seeing significant flooding in it. If that changes, we will issue flash flood warnings."
... Irma damages some Caribbean nations
Hurricane Irma, recorded as the strongest Atlantic Ocean Hurricane to date, with its 185mph winds, did its fair share of damage to a number of Caribbean islands yesterday.
Up to press time, the Category Five storm was on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominica Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and Florida in the United States.
The US Virgin islands also lie in Hurricane Irma's path.
The system passed almost directly over Barbuda. Antigua reported property damage; however, the government was well prepared for the storm, according to Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne. No deaths were recorded.
Flooding and flying debris were the major issues on some of the islands.
St Martin was dealt a severe blow, being partially destroyed, according to reports.