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