The Caribbean island of Tortola, the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, suffered the wrath of Hurricane Irma. It has a total population of about 24,000.
Footage shot at Tortola shows the sheer devastation.
Everton Powell, a local, surveyed the damage and captured it on video, showing flattened houses, uprooted trees, and smashed cars as far as the eye can see.
Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, can sustain winds of 185 mph. It has caused severe devastation across the Caribbean, including in the islands of St. Martin and Barbuda. Eight people were killed in St. Martin, and early reports say that three died in Barbuda.
A couple from Jersey, U.K., said they rode out Irma by hiding in a bathroom as it ripped the roof off their home.
“Then all six of them went down into a concrete toilet where it was safe to ride out the rest of the storm. Mum was in floods of tears and I have never heard dad sound so worried,’ the couple’s daughter, Katy, said of Tim and Shona Ringsdore, according to the Jersey Evening Post.
“By 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. our time yesterday the full force of the storm had hit them hard,” she added. “It ripped the roof off the property and destroyed the balcony and dad and the boys had to put heavy furniture against the hurricane shutters to hold them in place.”
Katy told the paper that the huge eye of the storm passed overhead, and the winds dropped. Her parents went outside to survey the damage.
“They said that when the eye went over there was no wind and no birds – just a deathly silence. Dad said he couldn’t comprehend the level of damage,” she said. “He phoned my sister, who lives in Miami, and told her that if she was thinking of staying put and riding it out then she should think again.”
“He told her to get out – and that is what she is doing now,” said Katy, who lives in the UK.
“I am a little worried as I haven’t heard from them since 9.30 p.m. yesterday – but by that time the worst had passed. They said the phone lines would go down, so I am just waiting to hear from them now,” she added.
Tortola was in the direct path of Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Jose, which formed Wednesday, might strike the region—just days after Irma.
Barbuda and Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the local Antigua/Barbuda Broadcasting Services that the islands are “practically uninhabitable” after they were blasted by Irma, a Category 5 storm. A video of his reaction was posted on the media’s Facebook page.
Antigua and Barbuda are located near Tortola.
Browne said that about 95 percent of the structures on the tiny island of Barbuda, which has 1,700 people, were destroyed in Hurricane Irma, which made landfall at 1:47 a.m. local time, according to reports. One person—an infant—was confirmed dead on the island. The child died as the mother was trying to escape Irma’s wrath, Browne said.
“If [Hurricane] Jose threatens [the two islands] … they would have absolutely no choice but to evacuate,” he said. “To do otherwise, would put themselves in danger.”