In wake of Har­vey, of­fi­cials urge close watch on Irma

Palm Beach Daily News - - OPINION - By EL­LIOTT WENZLER

As the na­tion’s eyes are pointed to­ward one hur­ri­cane’s ef­fects in Texas, an­other pow­er­ful storm is brew­ing in the At­lantic.

The Town of Palm Beach sent a no­tice to res­i­dents Thurs­day stat­ing that the town is closely mon­i­tor­ing Hur­ri­cane Irma and urges res­i­dents to do the same.

On Satur­day, Hur­ri­cane Irma weak­ened slightly to a Cat­e­gory 2 storm, but re­mains pow­er­ful and dan­ger­ous as it moves west­ward in the At­lantic Ocean, the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said.

The storm has sus­tained winds of 100 mph as of 11 a.m. Satur­day, mak­ing it slightly less pow­er­ful than the Cat­e­gory 3 winds re­ported Thurs­day. Irma is ex­pected to be a ma­jor hur­ri­cane as it edges closer to the Lesser An­tilles early next week, ac­cord­ing to the cen­ter.

The storm was mov­ing west at 15 mph. It’s too early to tell whether Hur­ri­cane Irma will af­fect the Ba­hamas or the con­ti­nen­tal United States, the hur­ri­cane cen­ter re­ported.

The town en­cour­aged res­i­dents and busi­nesses to keep a close eye on daily up­dates about the storm and fi­nal­ize pre­pared­ness ef­forts at home and work.

No coastal watches or warn­ings are in ef­fect.

“Re­gard­less, ev­ery­one in hur­ri­cane-prone ar­eas should en­sure that they have their hur­ri­cane plan in place, as we are now near the peak of the sea­son,” the cen­ter wrote on Satur­day.

On Satur­day, the Hous­ton Chron­i­cle re­ported that more than 50 peo­ple in the area have died or are feared dead in the flood­ing and af­ter­math of Har­vey.

The Palm Beach Syn­a­gogue will host a blood drive to ben­e­fit Hur­ri­cane Har­vey vic­tims from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tues­day in the syn­a­gogue’s back park­ing lot, Rabbi Mosche Scheiner said. The AABB In­teror­ga­ni­za­tional Task Force on Do­mes­tic Dis­as­ters is urg­ing el­i­gi­ble donors across Amer­ica, es­pe­cially those with type O-pos­i­tive blood, to make do­na­tions.

With blood drives be­ing can­celed due to the dan­ger­ous flood­ing in Texas, blood col­lec­tion agen­cies are mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort to meet emer­gency blood needs in the af­fected ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

“We are ask­ing all po­ten­tial donors, both cur­rent and first-timers, to make a com­mit­ment to do­nate blood or platelets as soon as pos­si­ble,” said Dennis Todd, chair­man of the task force.

Type O blood is the only type that can be safely trans­fused to most pa­tients with other blood types and is fre­quently used in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions.

The syn­a­gogue is at 120 N. County Road.

Win McNamee / Getty Im­ages

The sky­line of Hous­ton, Texas, looms over Buffalo Bayou, swollen with flood­wa­ters in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

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