While Hurricane Irene continues to make its way through The Bahamas with heavy winds and rain, residents in the capital Nassau are stocking up on the goods they need to in order to ride out the Category 3 storm.
Irene is still threatening the east coast of the United States.
We're making the necessary preparations storing food, candles and batteries, gassing up the car and boarding up to protect the windows and also a few games for pastime and I guess even some good times, said Adrian Wildgoose, 26, who resides in Nassau. She [Irene] hasn't arrived at this island as yet we're pretty much waiting on her so it's really just cloudy right now.
Wildgoose told the IBTimes that the lines at stores are getting longer and the shelves are quickly emptying.
Bottled water is becoming scarce, the store lines are long and shelves are being emptied and hurricane shelters are being made available, he said.
Another Nassau resident Tamara McKenzie, 34, told IBTimes that it was rather hot, around 91 degrees, all day on Wednesday, but started raining around 5 p.m.
However we (in Nassau) are not expected to feel the full brunt of the hurricane until later tonight into tomorrow morning, McKenzie said. She is a junior high school English teacher at a private high school in the eastern district of New Providence.
Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham on Tuesday spoke to the nation live on radio and TV where he told them that Irene was the third hurricane to threaten the entire archipelago of the Bahamas since 1866. He urged them to take precautions.
Persons in Nassau spent the entire day today and yesterday boarding up windows, removing debris from homes and shopping for canned goods and other hurricane supplies, which is the norm, McKenzie said. However Nassauvians are known to wait until the last minute to prepare [as they have not been hit directly or under a serious threat for a very long time] so everyone today was in a frenzy.
She also told IBTimes that many people couldn't find drinking water to buy and the water depots went into overdrive with their water production to meet the demand.
Mackenzie said ZNS news, the government TV station, reported that all flights at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau closed at two p.m on Wednesday and have been suspended. The banks and many businesses closed their doors at noon.
People rushed to the ATM to get cash and also filled their cars with gas, McKenzie said. Right now I'm home just waiting to ride out the storm and I pray that there is no loss of life in the end.
Irene has so far passed through the Southeast Bahamas, which includes the islands of Inagua, Ragged Island, Crooked Island, Acklins and Mayaguana.
The Tribune, one of Nassau's daily newspapers, reported that as of 5:44 p.m. on Wednesday, Hurricane Irene was slapping the southeastern Bahamas with maximum sustained winds of 120mph, based on the latest advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center.
Irene could become a Category 4 as she moves through the Bahamas on a north-northwest track at around 12 mph. The storm is not expected to leave Nassau until Friday evening.
At around 5 p.m., the center of Hurricane Irene was located about 30miles east-southeast of Long Island and around 215 miles southeast of Nassau in the Caribbean island.
The Tribune has said there were reports of extensive damage in Acklins island, with some houses being completely destroyed. There were also confirmed power cuts in the eastern end of New Providence.
At least one school, Central High School on Colonel Hill in Crooked Island, had its roof torn off, and Irene didn't spare the shingles and tiles from the roofs of homes and government offices, according to the Tribune report.
In that part of the island, trees have been knocked down, blocking the roads. Electricity has been shut off since the storm made landfall around eight a.m., according to the Tribune's report.
Michael Moss, chairman of the Bahamas Electricity Corp., or BEC, told the Tribune that no power cuts are planned for New Providence while Hurricane Irene passes through. Instead, the company plans to ride it out and continue to provide electricity across the island.
But as residents in Nassau hold tight and wait for Irene's arrival, Wildgoose said emergency officials at the National Emergency Management Agency, or NEMA, has responded swiftly and effectively as always with hurricanes.
Wildgoose praised the agency for making sure various options and adequate information is available to everyone who would need to know how to prepare and ride out the storm.
I think that we probably will [experience some damage], some islands more than others but for sure, Wildgoose said, adding that his island's infrastructure can survive the hurricane because we've already endured a lot of other strong hurricanes and we still stand firm so it would be a matter of following procedures and giving the recovery time to do their thing.