ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (WAVY) — Hurricane Irma made landfall Wednesday as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm over parts of the Caribbean.
The storm’s impact was immediately seen and felt in the eastern portion of the Caribbean — both directly and indirectly.
Viewer Danica Royster showed wind whipping around the shores of Antigua, with rough surf crashing into the island. Royster, who is from Chesapeake and lives in Norfolk, says she went to Antigua Saturday for vacation.
Video posted to social media from St. Martin — in the French Antilles, east of Puerto Rico — showed boats piled up and destroyed as Irma swept through. Palm trees were seen blowing in high winds, and distant view of waves could be seen through windows.
10 On Your Side’s Laura Caso spoke to a woman named Sarah Schaeffer, who lives on the island of Culebra. She’s about 15 miles from Puerto Rico.
The interview was quick and short because she says the winds were strong — about 75 miles per hour. She says her and others’ one chance to get off the island was Monday — leaving them without a way off the island.
“We’ve had warning and preparation and people here take this extremely seriously,” Schaeffer said. “So everything we have has been hatched up brought inside as best we can, these winds are pretty much unprecedented for us.”
A few hours later, Schaffer sent this text message, “There are no words. We’re safe but can hear the powerful wind and things hitting the building. We’re taking in a little water, but not dangerously so. Word is that our worst is overhead between 4 and 5 p.m. The rain is pounding. Zero visibility. It’s amazing that we have cell service. PR emergency services has issued a statement that this island, Culebra, will be the priority for damage assessment on Thursday.”
Schaeffer says she is planning to stay inside her cement house for 10 hours. She adds that she is up in the mountains and is hoping for the best.
Virginia Task Force 2 left Hampton Roads on Monday for San Juan, Puerto Rico.