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Monday 25 September 2017

Department of Foreign Affairs issue warning to Irish holidaymakers as Hurricane Irma hits US

A couple watch the sunset from a seafront as hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 5, 2017.
A couple watch the sunset from a seafront as hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 5, 2017.

Ryan O'Rourke

The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a warning to Irish holidaymakers as Hurricane Irma hits the US.

Irish people holidaying in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Florida are being advised to follow the advice of the local authorities and any orders given to evacuate to or remain in a place of safety.

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, churned across northern Caribbean islands on Wednesday with a potentially catastrophic mix of fierce winds, surf and rain, en route to a possible Florida landfall at the weekend.

Irma is expected to become the second powerful storm to thrash the US mainland in as many weeks but its precise trajectory remained uncertain. Hurricane Harvey killed more than 60 people and caused damaged estimated as high as $180 billion when it hit Texas late last month.

A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows a view of the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, with the wind blowing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows a view of the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, with the wind blowing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
Employees of the Mercure Hotel fill sand bags on the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, as part of the preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 on the beach in Orient Bay, on the French overseas island of Saint-Martin.
Night view of the city of Cap-Haitien, in the north of Haiti, 240 km from Port-au-Prince, on September 5, 2017.
A couple watch the sunset from a seafront as hurricane Irma approaches Puerto Rico in Fajardo on September 5, 2017.
Very long checkout lines at Costco as some people waited up to 8 hours to check in, shop and leave in preparation for Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 in North Miami.
Empty boxes of produce at Costco as customers purchased all the product on September 5, 2017 in Miami.
Costco ran out of water as people shop to prepare for Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 in North Miami.
A woman walks next to the Mapou River, in Shadaa neighborhood, in Cap-Haitien, in the north of Haiti, 240 km from Port-au-Prince, ahead of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017.
A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows a view of the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, with the wind blowing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
A man rides past a boarded up house as part of preparations ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017, in the French overseas island of Guadeloupe.
Men sail on Mapou Riverin Shadaa neighborhood, in Cap-Haitien, in the north of Haiti, 240 km from Port-au-Prince, ahead of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017.
People put boards on their windows as part of preparations for arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 in Orient Bay, on the French overseas island of Saint-Martin.
An employee of the Mercure Hotel installs sand bags in a ground floor room on the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, as part of the preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma
An employee of the Mercure Hotel pushes a wheelbarrow loaded with sand bags on the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, as part of the preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma
A picture taken on September 5, 2017 in Grand Case, on the French overseas island of Saint-Martin, shows people on a street in front of a house thas is boarded up as part of the preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
Men cover the windows of a auto parts store in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in San Juan, Puerto Rico September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
A man uses a cable to secure the roof of his home in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
An employee restocks bottled water on bare shelves as customers look on at a Publix grocery store, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Surfside, Fla. Wielding the most powerful winds ever recorded for a storm in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Irma bore down Tuesday on the Leeward Islands of the northeast Caribbean on a forecast path that could take it toward Florida over the weekend. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Joseph, Jr., right, 15, of St. Petersburg, bends down to carry sandbags to his family's vehicle at Lealman Community Park, in St. Petersburg, Fla., Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, as residents prepare for Hurricane Irma. (Lara Cerri/Tampa Bay Times via AP)
People buy materials as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
People shop in a hardware store as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, in Bayamon, Puerto Rico September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Members of the Civil Defense prepare their gear ahead of Hurricane Irma, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
A member of the Emergency Operations Committee (COE) monitors the trajectory of Hurricane Irma in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

The eye of Irma, a Category 5 storm packing winds of 185 miles per hour (295 km per hour), moved away from the island of Barbuda and toward the island of St. Martin, east of Puerto Rico, early on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami reported. It could hit Florida on Saturday.

“Both Puerto Rico and Florida have declared states of emergency.

“Citizens in affected areas should monitor local weather updates regularly and follow the advice of local authorities," the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The travel agency Sunway have also released a statement regarding the hurricane.

“Sunway are monitoring the status of Hurricane Irma closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, our ground handlers and suppliers.

 “Our travel advice for the affected area is to keep up to date with the latest information and monitor the progress of approaching storms.

“We would advise customers in resort to follow the instructions issued by the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.

 “We are in touch with all our clients in resort and those that are due to travel. We will review holidays on a case by case basis and will do our utmost to facilitate affected customers if necessary.

“If concerned customers who are due to travel in the coming day have queries our reservations team will be happy to assist them. Please call Sunway on 01-2311800.”

Kate Muldoon, from Co Donegal said her family are preparing for the hurricane in Puerto Rico.

"I live in Boston now but mum, dad and my youngest brother are on the island of Puerto Rico which is due to be directly affected today into tomorrow,

"It's due to hit at 2PM so it's just grey right now.

"My family are staying as calm as they can but the island is very nervous. It is economically unstable so the effect of the hurricane will cause mass damage."

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