Will Hurricane Irma Hit Jamaica? It's Expected To Hit Parts Of The Caribbean
Hurricane season is definitely in full swing. With Hurricane Harvey still fresh on everyone's mind, there's another one barreling towards the Caribbean behind him. Hurricane Irma's potential path may brush Jamaica and other areas in the Caribbean further west of where Irma will first make landfall in the next days.
The current projected paths don't show Irma's eye hitting Jamaica directly, but the National Hurricane Center shows Jamaica just at the edge of potential Hurricane Irma winds, likely to arrive Thursday night into Friday morning. Because it's not the eye of the storm, it won't see as strong a wind as other islands will, but it could still be severe. Right now Irma is a Category 4 storm, with some even predicting that it could become a Category 5 by the week's end. Both are bad, with "catastrophic damage" predicted.
Category 4 (major): Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
Category 5 (major): A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.
However, the question is whether Jamaica will see the worst of it, and the answer is "probably not." But, of course, storm paths are very hard to predict.
The areas that will see the worst of it are the Leeward Islands on the east side of the Caribbean, and then wherever the hurricane heads next, which looks to be somewhere around Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Cuba, according to the National Hurricane Center's warnings.
For the time being, then, Jamaica doesn't seem to be too concerned. An article in Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner covers the storm's path, but it's focused solely on the Leeward Islands (among them Antigua, Barbuda, and Saint Martin). There, the situation is definitely dire.
"The anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous" are expected within the next 24 hours in the "easternmost islands," according to the National Hurricane Center. They recommend that "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."
As for its eventual path, only time will tell, although most predictions point to the storm heading to the north of Cuba and hitting Florida or the East Coast. Jamaica, save some strong winds, should be spared.