February 24 2018

Delta pilots race Hurricane Irma to Puerto Rico -and win

February 24 2018, 05:56 | Van Peters

JP Weissman via CNN

American Airlines cancels Florida flights for Hurricane Irma

Tourists in the region have been urged to follow evacuation orders, while states of emergency have been declared in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Florida - amid fears Miami could be struck directly by the hurricane.

Atlanta-based Delta plans to delay its flights this evening in San Juan, then assess facilities after the storm passes to determine when it can restart flights.

As reported, the small territories of St. Barthélemy, Barbuda and Anguilla have already been very badly hit with more than 50% of residents left homeless and/or cut off without communications, water, or power. Pomales herself remembers a great deal of it growing up, and she said her mother lost a house in 1989's Hurricane Hugo, which claimed 61 lives and caused $10 billion in damage. "Of course, there are always nerves".

Others are performing various acts of kindness, including shuttling evacuating members and other visitors to the airports.

Obrion said the hotel where she is staying started preparing their guest for the storm Tuesday.

Hurricane Jose remained a Category 1 storm behind Ira with top sustained winds of 90 miles per hour and Hurricane Katia is also a Category 1 off Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

"You really want to fly into SJU during a category 5 hurricane, DL431?"

By all accounts, Hurricane Irma is a behemoth, a "potentially catastrophic" storm bearing 185-mph winds and the threat of devastation for the islands caught in its northwesterly course toward Florida.

Florida now braces for the storm.

The family has been glued to the television, watching reports of a roof collapse at a vehicle dealership in the city of Caguas as a result of strong winds. The situation inSt. John is the most bleak, with phone and power lines still down and little communication. It is a bit surreal, but unfortunately I think we've become desensitized to it here because we've lived with it for so long. "We've been through this many times before".

Hoogeveen says the entire island is without power and water, and there's no definitive timeline for return of basic services.

After wreaking havoc in the Leeward Islands, the hurricane scooted just north of Puerto Rico, sparing it the most catastrophic damage.

Puerto Rico's government-owned utility defaulted on roughly $9 billion in debt in July, so far failing in its bid to update what The New York Times calls "antiquated generating plants".

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