Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any worse than the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the US mainland is now bracing for a category 5 hurricane, Irma. It is the strongest storm ever reported in the Atlantic with sustained 185 mph winds and gusts up to 225 mph, not to mention torrential rain and is being compared to the huge cyclone storms that are seen in the western Pacific.
The storm slammed into the Leeward Islands a around 2 AM this morning passing directly over Barbuda cutting off phone lines and battering the nearby island of Antigua with heavy rains and wind before heading toward St. Martin where it left the island without electricity.
France sent emergency food and water rations to the French islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, where Irma ripped off roofs and knocked out all electricity. Dutch marines who flew to three Dutch islands hammered by Irma reported extensive damage but no deaths or injuries.
While France received no immediate reports of casualties, the minister for French overseas territories, Annick Girardin, said: “We have a lot to fear for a certain number of our compatriots who unfortunately didn’t want to listen to the protection measures and go to more secure sites … We’re preparing for the worst.”
Irma is expected to hit Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands tonight where thousands have already taken haven in shelters. There is a major concern about the fragile power infrastructure and some areas of the island and the capital, San Juan, have already been cut off from power to try to protect the island’s power grid.
It is on a direct path to south Florida striking sometime this weekend. Since there is only one road in and out of the Keys, Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, has ordered the mandatory evacuation of the Keys. He declared a state emergency which automatically triggers a FEMA response, called up 7000 National Guards and lifted all tolls on state highways to ease the evacuations.
The National Hurricane Center is warning about storm surges and flooding along coastal and low lying areas in Irma’s path.
Meanwhile, the climate denying wing nuts have been calling Irma a product of the “panic-industrial complex that just wants us to buy their bottled water.
If Rush wants to sit out on the beach in a Speedo, waiting for Irma to come ashore, he should have at it, as long as I don't have to watch. https://t.co/XOnmjZCqJt
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) September 6, 2017
Even Donald Trump is going to be effected by Irma in a very non-political, non-partisan way: Irma heading directly at Trump’s $28 million Caribbean mansion
Trump owns a multi-million dollar mansion on the Caribbean island of St. Martin — and Category 5 Irma is heading straight for it.
A hurricane warning is in effect for St. Martin — a French dependency about 230 miles east of Puerto Rico — and other nearby islands, meaning tropical storm-force winds could arrive within the next 24 to 36 hours.
Trump owns the 11-bedroom gated mansion through a trust set up to avoid conflict of interests during his presidency. The trust has been trying to offload the beachfront property for months. In August, its listing price was slashed from $28 million to $16.9 million, according to the Washington Post. [..]
In his financial disclosure forms, Trump said he rents the mansion out, pegging its value between $25 million and $50 million. The five-acre estate is named le Château des Palmiers (“Castle of the Palms”) and comes equipped with a tennis court, marble floors and gold curtains, the Post reported.
Gold curtains are not going to stop Irma.