Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Weather Service chief : Irma impossible to hype

Published:Thursday | September 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM
In this geocolor image captured by GOES-16 and released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Irma approaches Anguilla on yesterday. The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history has roared into the Caribbean, its winds ripping off roofs and knocking out phones. It's on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly hitting Florida.

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (AP):

National Weather Serv-ice Director Louis Uccellini says Hurricane Irma is so record-breaking strong it's impossible to hype.

Uccellini told The Associated Press yesterday that he was concerned about Florida up the east coast to North Carolina, starting with the Florida Keys.

He warned that "all the hazards associated with this storm" were going to be dangerous.

Hurricane expert Kerry Emanuel of MIT calculates that Irma holds about seven trillion watts - about twice the energy of all bombs used in World War II.

Meanwhile, a Dutch navy spokeswoman says that marines who flew to three islands hammered by Hurricane Irma have seen a lot of damage, but have no immediate reports of casualties.

The Category five storm made a direct hit yesterday on the island where the Dutch territory of St Maarten is located, though the scope of damage isn't yet clear. Some 100 Dutch marines flew to the islands on Monday to prepare for the hurricane.

Navy spokeswoman Karen Loos says that some troops were able to send images of destruction from St Maarten and another island, St Eustatius.

Loos says, "You do see there is a lot of damage. Trees, houses, roofs that are blown out. A lot of water, high water."

She says the extent of the damage elsewhere on the island is not yet clear.

The first of two Dutch naval vessels heading for the islands was expected to arrive at 8 p.m. local time in St Maarten.