Civil Air Patrol 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, Hurricane Irma could cause catastrophic damage as it passes the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and potentially heads toward southern Florida.
A state of emergency has been declared by President Donald Trump in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were under a hurricane warning Tuesday night, with a potential landfall taking place on Wednesday.
Puerto Rico Wing has taken steps to secure CAP aircraft at Muniz Air National Guard Base located near the city of San Juan on the northeast side of the island. The wing commander, Col. Carlos Fernandez, instructed all personnel to await further instructions from himself or the incident commander, Lt. Col. Marie Rivera, which is expected to come following improved weather conditions.
The governors of Florida, the U.S. Virgin Island and Puerto Rico declared states of emergency before President Trump's declaration. In Florida, areas from the southern tip to the panhandle were seeing increasing lines at gas stations, grocery stores and home centers as citizens stock up on supplies.
Hurricane Irma was moving west at 14 miles per hour with a wind speed of 185 miles per hour. The storm was expected to arrive in the general area of the Florida Straits late Saturday.
Photo: Civil Air Patrol personnel move aircraft into hangar alongside an Air National Guard's C-130.
Photo: Civil Air Patrol Aircraft parked in hangar as personnel prepare for Hurricane Irma