Will Irma Hit St. Martin? The Island Could Be Near The Hurricane's Eyewall
As Hurricane Irma approaches the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, many people probably want to know which particular islands the storm may strike, including whether Irma will hit St. Martin. Unfortunately, the French-Dutch island looks like it could be near the eye of the storm.
The island of St. Martin, which is located in the northwest Caribbean at the upper part of the Leeward Islands, is actually divided into two territories: the French Saint-Martin in the north and the Dutch Sint-Maarten in the south. The island is often collectively referred to as St. Martin/St. Maarten.
St. Martin is currently under a hurricane warning. As the Weather Channel reports, while its exact path is not yet known, Hurricane Irma, which has now been classified as a Category 5 hurricane, is expected to make a direct hit on the northern Leeward islands on early Wednesday morning. The outlet noted that the territories in the island chain most likely to be directly hit by Irma include St. Martin, as well as Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, and Anguilla.
The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten also issued a warning to citizens and noted that Irma is on track to possibly strike the island quite significantly.
The center of Hurricane Irma remains on track to move very close to St. Maarten on Wednesday morning, however conditions will start deteriorating this evening. Hurricane conditions are expected later tonight into Wednesday. Heavy showers, scattered thunderstorms, gusty winds and very rough seas are expected with the passage of this system.
The Weather Channel further noted that the Northern Leeward Islands, including St. Martin, can expect destructive winds, heavy rainfall with totals up to 12 inches, tides up to 11 feet above normal levels, and high surf and rip currents. All of these factors could lead to significant power outages, flooding, and structural damage, among other issues.
The Meteorological Department of St. Maarten advised mariners residing on the island to "take all necessary precautions to protect life and property." It also cautioned residents in flood-prone areas to be vigilant and cautious.
On Tuesday, Soualiga News Today, Saint Martin's online news website, reported that the Dutch navy had pre-positioned 80 Marines on the island on Monday in order to help with assistance, if necessary, in Irma's wake.
Overall, it unfortunately looks like St. Martin could be hit by Irma and, if it is, could potentially face significant damage. Many people will be closely watching as the storm nears the Leeward Islands, keeping all of the islands' residents in their thoughts and hoping for minimal damage.