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Friday, September 22 2017 @ 08:12 PM AST

Florida residents go north as Hurricane Irma leaves 10 dead in the Caribbean ...so far

Category 5 Hurricane Irma with winds at 185 mph ravaged French Caribbean islands St Martin and St Barth's leaving one dead in each location.

Irma also claimed the life of an infant in Barbuda. Seven other lives have been lost since, according to media reports.

Turks & Caicos braces for direct hit within the next 24-36 hours.

Cayman Islands spared.

Resilient Caribbean islanders hunker down and brace for the impact but vow to remain open for business.

Tourists safe and urged to continue to stay indoors.

Anguilla hotels all intact, Govt says, no damage to airport and authorities expect things to get back to normal soon.

THE BAHAMAS IS PREPARING FOR A DIRECT HIT

...BUT NASSAU AND PARADISE ISLAND MAY BE SPARED THE WORST

The Leeward Islands of the Caribbean took a heavy rain beating from Hurricane Irma yesterday as she pounded them mercilessly and left St Martin, Sint Maarten, St Barth's, and Barbuda ravaged.

She passed over the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and the British Virgin Islands as well but they stood up to her.

Roaring winds and heavy storms continue on some of these islands, as others weather systems loom large in the area, among them Category 1 Hurricane Jose, threatening to come in for a repeat, and if unnamed, ungrouped weather systems come together, a three-peat. Other islands are experiencing tropical storm conditions due to proximity.

Many islands have been evacuated and some that were evacuated but spared are now being repopulated.

WORSE THING HAPPENING IN SOME PLACES IS LOSS OF ELECTRIC POWER

...MANY MAKING THE BEST OF IT

Not everyone was displaced or inconvenienced by the hurricane passing overhead. One tattoo'd American tourist couple had a "hurricane party" on the beach for two, in St Croix and webcast it live. The strong winds and larger-than-normal waves only seemed to make their beers taste better as they danced to music from their battery-powered mobile-phone-controlled radio.

Sea levels remain high in most places where the hurricanes are still expected to pass. Therefore boardwalks might be a bad idea. Waves can be 13-32 feet high. Avoid going out to sea.

Almost all forecast cones predict Hurricane Irma will hit the whole of the sunshine state of Florida as a Category 4 hurricane by Saturday or Sunday. Also very few forecast cones spare The Bahamas.

Meanwhile the southern Caribbean, like Trinidad and Tobago, remains calm with grey skies.



SINT MAARTEN




USVI


SINT MAARTEN


SINT MAARTEN AIRPORT



ST MARTIN



PHOTOS PUBLISHED ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY EYE WITNESSES

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