By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Mon. Sept. 11, 2017: Caribbean immigrants who call Florida home were this weekend forced to batten down and deal with the wrath of Hurricane Irma.
Many had spent two days prior to the announcement of the storm’s approach preparing their homes and stocking up on non-perishable food, water and gas in advance of the storm as they prepared to ride it out in their homes.
By Saturday, Guyanese-born actor Ron Bobb-Semple had to shutter up and leave his Tampa Bay home and head to Orlando as the hurricane’s path changed from south Florida to the western side of the state.
Many took to Facebook throughout the storm to share their experiences as Irma slowly moved up along the Florida peninsula, bringing heavy wind and rain.
Marlon Hill and Pat Montague, Jamaican immigrants in South Florida lost power ahead of the storm’s approach Saturday night while Trinidad immigrant Nikita Mohansingh lost power Sunday.
Jamaican migrant and founder of Jamaicans.com, Xavier Murphy, said he also cell service and the power was going on and off sporadically in South Florida.
Pembrooke Pines also lost power as resident and Jamaican national Carroline Perrier posted a video showing the storm slamming the area with heavy rains and winds. Conditions were the same for Jamaican national and Miami resident Al B Carvalho.
But in Plantation and Wellington, Jamaican nationals Hugh Ferguson and Stenneth Robinson said the power there was holding steady though the wind and rain was lashing the areas even as the areas kept being placed under tornado watches.
In Lehigh Acres, Florida, Guyanese Lorna Tong Antoine said she was experiencing hurricane winds around 80-100 mph while in 20 miles North of Tampa, Guyanese migrant Allan Martindale say he and his family was “prepared as we can be.”
“Our neighbors have banded together and we will be looking out for each other,” he added.
Guyanese national Lloyd Phillips was also expecting to be slammed by Irma in Kissimmee, Florida. “I’m expecting that ferocious female named Irma to make her belligerent entrance with the full force of a spurned lover,” he joked in a light post ahead of the storm.
While in Orlando, Jamaican national Albert Graham said he was seeing rain sporadically throughout the day but the intensity should be increased after midnight as he was feeling the wind pick up.
Irma made landfall as a Category 4 storm in the Florida Keys Sunday and touched land again as a Category 3 Sunday afternoon, hitting Marco Island on Florida’s southwest coast. As of press time the storm had weakened to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 105 mph with the National Hurricane Center saying Irma is expected to remain a hurricane at least through this morning.
Some 3.2 million people have lost power across the state even as Florida Power and Light said last night it had already restored power to 350,000.
This as cameras caught looters breaking into Fort Lauderdale stores as Hurricane Irma hit Florida with strong winds and heavy rain.