Charlestown, Nevis – According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma became a Category 5 hurricane on the morning of Tuesday, September 5 and is headed toward the Leeward Islands. As of 11:00AM AST, Irma is moving West at 14 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.
Hurricane Irma is forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to the north eastern parts of the Caribbean.
Irma is expected to produce total rainfall accumulation of 4 to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches in the Northern Leeward Islands, The British and US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Nevis as it is in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma. The storm is projected to reach the island by Tuesday evening (September 5) or early Wednesday (September 6).
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
In this case, for some of easternmost islands, the hurricane conditions are expected within the next 12 to 24 hours. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion. Disaster management professionals are encouraging those in low lying and flood prone areas to evacuate and move to family and friends in less exposed areas or to the closest emergency shelters. Emergency shelters will be open at 4pm today.
The Honourable Vance Amory, premier of Nevis and minister responsible for the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMO), released a statement on Monday, September on the impending passage of Hurricane Irma and issued directives to residents.
He convened a meeting with the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) and all of the heads of departments in Nevis, with respect to the levels of preparedness to face the impact of Irma with every single department – health, fire services, police, public works, agriculture, education, etc. “It is clear that all of the heads of department have been very keen on ensuring that the preparatory work has been done. However, it is my duty to advise every single citizen, every single householder, that you have a responsibility to secure your premises to ensure that your loss is minimized. It is also important that you take care of your animals and your other movable property. Secure them so that they can be safe in case of a strike from Hurricane Irma,” he stated.
Hotels on Nevis have been readying for the storm. As of Monday, September 4, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis was in the final stages of implementing their Hurricane Plan. The resort was anticipating its last guests in house to depart this morning, September 5 and they planned a precautionary closure of the resort at 1PM today until after the passing of Irma to ensure the safety of guests and employees. Other resorts have planned similar readiness strategies.
Passengers with plans to fly to St. Kitts and Nevis within the next week should refer to their airline regarding the status of their flights and to make any relevant rebookings.