Friday 20 October 2017

'It's like the Day After Tomorrow' - Former Dublin Mayor says Miami is 'preparing for the worst'

Eye of Hurricane Irma expected to hit Miami later tonight

Costco ran out of water as people shop to prepare for Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 in North Miami.
Costco ran out of water as people shop to prepare for Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017 in North Miami.
A woman takes cover from the rain as Hurricane Irma moves off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Nagua, Dominican Republic, September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
A shopper in Sedano's Supermarket looks at nearly empty water shelves in the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, Florida, September 5, 2017. Residents are preparing for the approach of Hurricane Irma. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Miami is in a state of "pure panic" as the city prepares for Hurricane Irma to make landfall, according to former Lord Mayor of Dublin, Royston Brady.

Irma, the strongest hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic, has killed at least 14 people, according to reports. It was downgraded to a Category 4 storm earlier today after wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and now has Miami in its sights.

Brady, who served as Lord Mayor between 2003-2004, said Irma is bringing out "the best and worst in people".

"There was a palpable sense of fear when stores started selling out. You couldn’t get water, you couldn’t get gas...pure panic has set in," he told Today with Sean O'Rourke.

Businessman Royston Brady
Businessman Royston Brady

"I have seen people fighting over water and food...the highways are jammed...it's gone from living on the set of the Truman Show to living in the Day After Tomorrow."

The hurricane has already reduced the island of Barbuda to wreckage and left millions of people in Puerto Rico in the dark.

Brady says emergency services in Miami are on "top of things" but they fear it could take up to a month to recover.

"People have gone as far as Atlanta and Tennessee to be safe...they are predicting parts of Miami won’t be inhabitable for a month," he said.

Meanwhile, an Irishman in Turks and Caicos told of his family's relief after their newborn Maebh was born just hours before Hurricane Irma hit.

The islands were "pummelled" overnight by Hurricane Irma as winds of up to 175mph left death and destruction in the Atlantic, according to weather reports.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland, Joe Ryan said "We were getting anxious as the storm got closer. Claire went into labour yesterday and delivered the baby, we're so lucky that she didn't have to stay in hospital.

"Maebh came in just the nick of time. We're all together now in the hotel".

Irma is the second catastrophic hurricane to hit the US within the space of two weeks.

Hurricane Harvey caused devastation in Texas and Louisiana, with flood damage continuing to affect millions of people.

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