12:06 PM

Fla., Puerto Rico Wings Brace for Expected Hurricane Irma Impact

CAP Planes Moved in Puerto Rico

Lt. Col. Judy L. Steele
Deputy Director of Public Affairs
Southeast Region

Southeast Region commanders, operations directors and U.S. Air Force personnel met Tuesday night to discuss Hurricane Irma preparedness plans as the Category 5 storm bore down on the Caribbean.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Irma could cause catastrophic damage as it passes the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico and potentially heads toward southern Florida.

The Puerto Rico Wing has taken steps to secure CAP aircraft at Muniz Air National Guard Base, near San Juan on the northeast side of the island.

President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida, whose governors had already made similar declarations. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were under a hurricane warning Tuesday night, with landfall possibly taking place today.

Col. Carlos Fernandez, wing commander, instructed all members to await further instructions from him or the incident commander, Lt. Col. Marie Rivera, following improved weather conditions.

In Florida, areas from the southern tip to the panhandle were seeing increasing lines at gas stations, grocery stores and home centers as residents stock up on supplies.

Hurricane Irma was moving west at 14 mph with a wind speed of 185 mph. The storm was expected to arrive in the general area of the Florida Straits late Saturday.