Washington, Sep 6 (IANS) The eye of Hurricane Irma on Wednesday crossed Barbuda with potentially catastrophic effects on this island and for the rest of the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean islands, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) reported.
Irma of Category 5, the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale, crossed Barbuda at 2 a.m. with maximum sustained winds of 295 km an hour.
At present, Irma is moving north-northwest at a speed of 24 km per hour and is located 10 km north of Barbuda and 65 km north of Antigua.
Barbuda has 545 homes with 1,645 people living, according to the 2011 census.
According to the probable trajectory pattern traced by the NHC, after crossing the Lesser Antilles, the vortex of the extremely dangerous Irma will pass near or just north of Puerto Rico by noon on Wednesday and Thursday night, Efe reports.
Once it crosses Puerto Rico, Irma will probably pass through the north of the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, northern Cuba and arrive in Florida at the end of the week.
The weather experts anticipate Irma to stay in the category of 4 or 5 in the next 48 hours.