Hurricane Irma: What you need to know

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A Hurricane watch has been issued for Antigua and Barbuda and several other Leewards Islands as we continue to brace for the possible impact of  Hurricane Irma, a category 4 storm that’s  currently roughly 490 miles east of the Leewards Isands.
In preparation for the passage of Irma, here is some useful information that you should bear in mind. The information provided is based on an interview with Meteorologist Lorne Salmon.
Where is Irma?
At 5:00 pm Eastern Caribbean time, Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 16.7 degrees north, longitude 54.4 degrees west or approximately 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands. If it continues on  this path, it is expected to start affecting the islands on Tuesday evening, beginning with scattered showers.
How much rainfall is expected?
Salmon said between 3 to 6 inches of rainfall is expected. However, isolated maximum amounts of up to 10 inches can be expected across some parts of the Leeward Islands.
“If the 6 inches materialise, then we could very well have flooding in low-lying areas, and some of these could be life-threatening flash floods which could also lead to mudslides,” Salmon said.
What’s happening at Sea?
Swells generated by Irma will affect the nothern Leeward Islands, Antigua and Barbuda included. The swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip-current conditons, and also above-normal “dangerous” swells.
“It is a no, no for seabathers, just don’t even think about it. Small craft operators and mariners in general are encouraged to seek safe anchorage and in some instances would have to remove their boats from water,” the forecaster said.
After a Hurricane
Make sure you listen for official information to ensure that the all-clear announcement has been given. Do not leave your home until you hear the all-clear announcement. 
Do not go outside bare-footed or in slippers.
Keep phone lines free for important calls.
Get medical attention for persons injured.
Help your family, neighbours and community.
Assist in search and rescue, and community response efforts.
Clear roads and clean up debris from surrounding areas.
Begin temporary repairs.
Report damage to utilities company.
Avoid sightseeing.
Watch out for secondary hazards, fire, flooding, et cetera.
Do a damage assessment and co-operate with assessors.
Visitors should inform the relevant authorities of their location as soon as possible
Advise for residents going forward?
It is important for Antiguans and Barbudans to be prepared for the storm. Salmon said going into tomorrow, individuals should be in the process of completing all emergency preparations for the impending hurricane.

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