Hurricane Erma, in the form of a strong fourth-grade storm, is heading toward the Caribbean and southern United States on Tuesday and expects the islands on its way to strong winds and floods.
The US National Hurricane Center said hurricane warnings were made in lands in the Andes, including parts of the Leeward Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the US and Puerto Rico, in preparation for a storm with winds of 220 kilometers per hour.
“The preparations for the tropical storm winds are expected to reach areas that received a hurricane warning in the final hours of Tuesday,” the national meteorological service said in a note on Monday.
The fourth-degree storm on the five-degree Saffir / Simpson scale means winds of 209 to 251 km / h and “catastrophic” consequences, including uprooting of trees, water and electricity cuts and massive property damage, making homes uninhabitable according to the Miami Hurricane Center.
In preparation for the storm, the government of Puerto Rico, a country with economic difficulties, declared a state of emergency. The island’s population is about 3.4 million and has 456 emergency shelters equipped to receive up to 62,100 people.
Puerto Rico also announced a freeze on the prices of essential needs including food, water, medicines, generators and batteries to help the population prepare for the storm.
Puerto Rico’s Tlemondo television showed long queues for shoppers buying water packs, scouts, batteries, generators, food and other goods to store in preparation for the storm.
Electricity director Ricardo Ramos told the station that the power grid is weak due to lack of investment, which could lead to power cuts for three or four months.
“We are preparing for the worst possible scenario.”
The hurricane also threatens the US east coast and Florida, which declared a state of emergency on Monday night. The Hurricane Center expects Hurricane Erma to arrive in Florida on Saturday.