Irene Bears Down on Most Islands….Strengthens….Veers Slightly East
Projected CAT 4 to Have Greatest Impact on Easternmost Islands….But All Will Be Affected
Message From BHA President Stuart Bowe:
By now all readiness plans should be in place and the primary emphasis must be on the protection of people and property. Over the next several days it will be essential that timely and accurate communication occur between the industry, the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Bahamas and international travel partners, and the media. To facilitate this, The Ministry has established a Command Center at the British Colonial Hilton which will become operational today at 5:00 p.m.
BHA plays an integral role in the Center and its private sector outreach efforts. This should be used as an industry access point to advise us of problems which we may assist with and to get accurate industry information.
We need also to look to the future and position ourselves to bounceback as soon as possible. It is essential that we are quickly able to assess damage to our infrastructure, hotels and other tourism-support businesses. Attached is a damage assessment form. Both BHA and the Ministry need your cooperation in completing the form as soon as possible following the storm – within 24-36 hours.
Below is the latest Alert from the Bahamas Meteorological Department. We will continue to send you updates and information on projected airport openings and flight information as it becomes available. On behalf of the Bahamas Hotel Association, I wish all of you, particularly those in the eastern islands, Godspeed and a safe and manageable situation.
Ministry of Tourism and Aviation Hurricane Command Center
Satellite # 00-881641431604
Overseas Access: (954) 740-8737; (954) 740-8680 or (954) 740-8667
Bahamas #s: (242) 225-8257; (242) 225-8621; (242) 225-2715
BHA Executive Vice President Frank Comito – cell – (242) 424-4358; direct (242) 322-4696
THIS IS ALERT NUMBER TWENTY SIX (#26) ON HURRICANE IRENE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT, AT 3 PM EDT WEDNESDAY, 24TH AUGUST 2011.
… IRENE IS A LITTLE STRONGER AND THE EYE NOW OVER CROOKED ISLAND...
A Hurricane Warning Remains In Effect For The Entire Bahamas Which Includes The Islands Of Bimini, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Berry Islands, Eleuthera, New Providence, Andros, Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Cat Island, Exuma And Its Cays, Inagua, Mayaguana, Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Acklins And All The Surrounding Cays. A Hurricane Warning Is Also In Effect For The Turks And Caicos Islands.
A Hurricane Warning Means That Hurricane Conditions Are Possible In The Mentioned Islands Within Thirty-Six (36) Hours.
At 2:00 Pm Edt, The Center Of Hurricane Irene Was Located Near Latitude 22.7 Degrees North And Longitude 74.3 Degrees West Or 65 Miles Southeast Of Long Island, About 95 Miles South Of San Salvador Island And About 250 Miles Southeast Of Nassau.
Irene Is Moving Toward The Northwest Near 12 Miles Per Hour And This General Motion Is Expected To Continue Through Tonight. A Turn Toward The North-Northwest And Then North Are Expected Thursday And Thursday Night. On The Forecast Track The Core Of Irene Will Move Across Acklins And Crooked Island This Afternoon And Move Over The Islands Of The Central Bahamas Tonight And Near Or Over The Northwestern Bahamas On Thursday Through Thursday Night.
Maximum Sustained Winds Have Increased To Near 120 Miles Per Hour With Higher Gusts. Irene Is A Category Three Hurricane On The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Additional Strengthening Is Forecast During The Next Day Or So And Irene Could Become A Category Four Hurricane By Thursday.
Hurricane Force Winds Extend Outward Up To 50 Miles From The Centre And Tropical Storm Force Winds Extend Outward Up To 205 Miles From The Centre.
Storm Surge And Battering Waves Are Now Impacting Mayaguana, Little And Great Inagua Islands, Acklins And Crooked Island And Will Spread To Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador And Cat Island Later This Afternoon And Tonight. Heavy Downpours Will Result In Widespread Flooding In Many Of The Low Lying Islands. Extreme Caution Should Be Exercised In Flooded Areas Where Downed Powerlines May Result In Serious Bodily Harm. Storm Surge Will Impact Some Islands In The Northwest Bahamas By Early Thursday Morning.
Residents In Acklins, Crooked Islands, Mayaguana, Inagua And The Turks And Caicos Islands Should Remain Indoors And Residents In Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador And Cat Island Should Brace Themselves For Tropical Storm And Hurricane Conditions During The Next 10 To 12 Hours.
Residents In The Northwest Bahamas Should Brace Themselves For Tropical Storm Force Winds Beginning Around 10 Pm Tonight And Hurricane Conditions Through Thursday.
Small Craft Operators In The Northwest, Central And Southeast Bahamas And Also The Turks And Caicos Islands Should Remain In Port.
The Next Alert Will Be Issued At 6 Pm Edt.
(Prepared By Basil A. Dean)