Hurricane Irma has turned most parts of the Carribbean islands unpside down. Reuters reports that the hurricane plowed past the Dominican Republic on Thursday after devastating a string of Caribbean islands and killing at least 11 people as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century took aim at Florida.
With winds of around 180 mph (290 kph), the storm lashed several small islands in the northeast Caribbean, including Barbuda, St. Martin and the British Virgin Islands, tearing down trees, flattening homes and causing widespread damage.
The eye of the hurricane passed north of Puerto Rico early Thursday, battering the U.S. territory with high winds and heavy rains and leaving nearly 70 percent of the population without electricity, Governor Ricardo Rossello said.
The eye of Irma was moving west-northwest off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday morning, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
At least 8 people were killed in the tiny French-Dutch island of Saint Martin, with 23 others injured, and the toll was likely to rise as emergency services reached isolated communities, officials said.