Hurricane Irma continues to be a monster storm

Hurricane Irma continues to be a monster storm”

While it's still too early to know if any of Eversource's local crews will head south, Martin said one of the utility's call centers is preparing to help Tampa Electric Company by taking outage calls if the Florida utility needs some assistance.

"It's like someone with a lawn mower from the sky has gone over the island", Marilou Rohan, a European vacationer on the Dutch side of the island, which is split with France, told the Dutch NOS news service.

At the far northeastern edge of the Caribbean, authorities on the Leeward Islands of Antigua and Barbuda have cut power and urged residents to shelter indoors as they braced for Hurricane Irma's first contact with land early Wednesday.

Irma, which has reportedly become "the most risky natural phenomenon" in the region this year, is likely to surpass the impact of Hurricane Matthew, which was a category 4 hurricane on a five-point scale and affected 3.2 million people last October - of whom 1.3 million were children.

He said damage seems to have been concentrated in infrastructure for crops including bananas. Elsewhere, roofs had been blown off by the hurricane that struck Wednesday.

Interior Minister Max Rudolph Saint-Albin urged people to move to higher ground.

Memories are still fresh of the loss of 600 or more lives in Haiti last October from Hurricane Matthew, which made landfall as a category 4 and caused enormous economic losses to the impoverished country still recovering from the 2010 natural disaster.

Workers at the Paradisus Palma Real resort in Punta Cana board up windows ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma, expected to make landfall on the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

The Category 5 hurricane was most felt in the north of the country, where many residents said they were not aware a hurricane was approaching.

As of 2 a.m. EDT Thursday, the storm was about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is moving west-northwest near 16 mph (26 kph).

And Scot Julieann Fernandez - who is on her honeymoon in the region - says that Thomas Cook has "abandoned" its customers.

Irma is the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded, with 300 km/h winds.

More than 10.5 million children live in the countries that are likely to be exposed to the damage from Hurricane Irma, UNICEF warned today.

It also says that the airport did not sustain any major damage but that it remains closed along with two ports. There were no reports of any deaths from the storm.

Irma was projected to skirt the northern coast of Haiti, sparing it from the full force of the storm but still pummeling it with heavy rain and strong winds.

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