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Island Reduced To ‘Rubble’ By Irma Braces For Another Hurricane

REUTERS

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Michael Bastasch Contributor
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A cluster of eastern Caribbean islands are at risk of being hit by a second major hurricane in the next two or three days, according to forecasts.

Forecasters project Hurricane Jose will move towards Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, all of which were just hit by Hurricane Irma — the strongest Atlantic storm to form outside the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

Barbuda took a direct hit from Irma. The Category 5 storm’s eye passed directly over the island early Wednesday morning, and by the end of the day had devastated the tiny island with fierce wind gusts and massive storm surge.

The storm knocked out the island’s communications and left nearly all the island’s buildings into heaps of rubble, according to officials. Only one person, an infant, has been confirmed to have died in the storm.

“Barbuda is literally rubble,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said. “The entire housing stock was damaged. It is just a total devastation.”

Irma had maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. Irma battered the nearby island of Antigua as well, flooding city streets. The island was pelted with rain and heavy winds.

Browne said he would evacuate Barbuda’s 1,800 residents to Antigua is forecasters predict Hurricane Jose hitting the island. Antiqua was not as severely damaged as its sister island.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Jose will become a major hurricane by Friday, meaning it will have maximum sustained winds of at least 110 miles per hour. It’s expected to remain a major storm until Sunday morning when it get close to Antigua and Barbuda.

The island of Antigua suffered “severe” damage from Irma, according to officials.

One British official said “police stations, hospitals, school facilities, three or four emergency shelters, a home for the infirm and the aged, as well as the fire station,” had been damaged or destroyed, the Guardian reported.

Antigua is among the islands Jose could pass over on its way northwest.

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