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Willenhall man speaks of fear as Hurricane Irma approaches

By David Cosgrove | Willenhall | News | Published:

A holidaymaker from the Black Country has spoken of his 'worry' as Hurricane Irma approaches the island where he is staying.

Hurricane Irma

Retiree Ken Adams, from Willenhall, is on holiday in Punta Cana on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.

The storm is due to either hit the island or pass very close by it.

Mr Adams, 72, who is travelling with Thomas Cook and staying at the Bahia Principe Punta Cana Bávaro, said: "We have been told to stay in our rooms.

"Every other tour operator has evacuated their guests and sent them home.

"[I'm] hoping for the best but worried more for the locals whose homes are not so well built as our hotel.

"We are due to leave next Tuesday. Other Thomas Cook guests were due to leave today (thurs) but the airport is closed."

At least 10 people have died as Hurricane Irma continues to tear a deadly path through the Caribbean, with Florida on high alert.

The storm destroyed nearly all buildings on the island of Barbuda on Wednesday, killing a two-year-old child as a family tried to escape, before wreaking havoc on the French territories of St Martin and St Barts.

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At least eight people were killed and 23 injured in French Caribbean island territories, while one death was reported in the nearby island of Anguilla, a British overseas territory that was among the first islands to be hit.

Officials reported extensive damage to its airport, hospitals, shelters and school and said 90 per cent of roads are impassible, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, which also reported 'major damage' to houses and commercial buildings in the British Virgin Islands.

Thomas Cook said they have sent 18 members of their special assistance team to Cuba and the Dominican Republic to help stranded holidaymakers.

Britons 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.

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On the US mainland, authorities fear the hurricane may slam into the Florida peninsula over the weekend, just days after Storm Harvey devastated Texas.

Forecasts suggest Irma's most destructive winds could carve up much of Florida's priciest real estate, damaging properties from the Florida Keys through to Jacksonville as it swirls north.

Officials are making preparations to potentially shut down two nuclear power stations in the Sunshine State, while evacuation orders have been issued in parts of Miami and the Florida Keys.

Donald Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach could be affected by the storm, said his administration is monitoring Irma closely.

"It looks like it could be something that could be not good, believe me not good," the US President said.

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Deputy Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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