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Nations lean on PDC to get ready for dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Irma after it engulfs Barbuda


September 6, 2017

As communication remains severed with the island of Barbuda in what National Hurricane Center experts call “potentially catastrophic” impacts, Hurricane Irma rages on as a Category 5 towards the U.S. Virgin Islands and up the Leeward Island chain. Forecast to hit the Florida coast within just a few days as one of the strongest hurricanes in recorded Atlantic history, Irma continues to pack record-breaking maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, with gusts of up to 224 mph.

“Irma presents an extraordinary threat to the people, communities, and economies in the path of the storm. This is the key reason PDC exists today—to help mitigate these threats before they happen and to provide real-time information to emergency managers so they can help protect and support the most vulnerable populations,” said PDC’s Tim Manning, Senior Advisor and former Deputy Administrator of FEMA.

To support the countless local, national and regional responders, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) is working around the clock to produce analytical products and reports through its state-of-the-art impact models and DisasterAWARE™ technology.

“Irma will test the capabilities and endurance of our partners impacted by this storm. Now is the time that we are leveraging the longstanding partnerships with our colleagues throughout the Caribbean and Southern United States and responding as we have trained to do. This is a strong storm and the power should not be underestimated. I remain optimistic of the capacity of The Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and U.S. Officials that have partnered with us,” said Dr. Erin Hughey, PDC Director of Disaster Services.

Gayle Outten-Moncur, Senior Assistance Secretary and Operations Manager for The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) described its relationship with PDC on disaster risk reduction efforts for the country over the last 16 years saying, “Dr. Hughey and the PDC have been by our side working hand-in-hand for countless events including response and recovery efforts to Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2004, Joaquin in 2015, and the 2016 Hurricane Matthew event – Irma will be no different, we will rely on our partners to effectively support the residents of The Bahamas.”

PDC’s experts are also working in direct support of Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, The Bahamas NEMA, FEMA, U.S. Department of Defense, the Florida State Emergency Management Agency, and Miami-Dade Emergency Management. With the National Hurricane Center forecast unchanged, agencies remain very concerned about high levels of potential casualties from this very powerful Category 5 hurricane.

For more information about Pacific Disaster Center, and to follow its situational analysis as this deadly event unfolds, http://www.pdc.org/event-dashboard/2017_Hurricane_Irma.

More from Pacific Disaster Center

To keep yourself up-to-the-minute about hazards and disasters:

For the latest Weather and Disaster News, use the PDC Weather Wall.

While you are thinking of hazards, think of preparedness. PDC provides disaster preparedness information, including printable instructions for assembling a Disaster Supply Kit and rehearsing a Family Disaster Plan.

For more information on DisasterAWARETM products:

  • For details, see the Training Guide for Web-accessible Disaster Alert,
  • Read and understand more about custom versions, such as DMRS and VinAWARE,
  • Watch the ASEAN DMRS video on YouTube.

About PDC:

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) envisions a safer, more secure world—where populations live in more disaster-resilient communities informed by science and technology, and equipped with sound decision support tools. To help make that vision a reality, PDC is dedicated to supporting evidence-based disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts by providing actionable information and applications to the public and disaster managers worldwide. PDC, a program managed by the University of Hawaii, was established by the U.S. government in 1996.