|Irene devastates Southeastern Bahamas|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Aug 25, 2011
Irene devastated portions of the Southeastern Bahamas over the past 14 hours, leaving several islands flooded and homes damaged. But the category three hurricane also reportedly wiped 90 percent of the settlement of Lovely Bay, Acklins off of the map.
As Irene crept into the Bahamas it packed winds sustained at 90 miles per hour as a category 2 storm. However, as it progressed into the island of Inagua it grew into a category three – a major hurricane – and began to wreak havoc in the small settlements on the small island in the south.
Owner of a radio station in Exuma Dwight Hart said the island has shown signs of flooding and is experiencing an island-wide blackout.
He explained that Sandal Emerald Bay flew many of its guests out of the island prior to the storm, even as Exumians rushed to prepare themselves for the first storm in almost ten years that has threatened the entire Bahamas archipelago.
In clarence Town, Long island the roof of St Paul’s Anglican church was torn off as the category three winds of Irene moved in.
And as the storm continues traverse the archipelago, meteorologist predict it could grow to a category four storm and then on to a category five as it moves out of the Bahamas.
According to the latest update by the National Weather Center the storm was located 150 miles outside of New Providence and had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour.
As the intensifying storm approaches the Central and Northern Bahamas, island residents told the Nassau Guardian that it is now just a waiting game for them.
Marine Operator Stefan Newbold said fishermen in Spanish Wells have run their boats aground and tethered them with at least 120 ropes in some cases, to keep them safe.
Newbold said Spanish Wells residents are prepared for Irene, which he predicted would pass directly over the island in the next few hours.
“If it stays at its current speed, between eight and nine o’clock we should have the eye of the storm,” he said.
Irene is predicted to be out of the Bahamas and the islands given the all clear by Friday.