ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – Hurricane Emily grew even more powerful Thursday after slamming into Grenada, tearing up crops, flooding streets and striking at homes still under repair from last year’s storms. At least one man was killed.
The storm strengthened to a dangerous Category 3 as it cleared the Windward Islands, unleashing heavy surf, gusty winds and torrential rains on islands hundreds of miles away: Trinidad in the south, nearby Venezuela, to the west and Dominican Republic in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.
The storm was packing sustained winds near 125 mph and moving west-northwest at around 20 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami predicted the second major hurricane of the Atlantic season would get even stronger.
Emily struck hard in Grenada, especially in the northern parishes of St. Patrick’s and St. Andrew’s and the outlying islands of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, authorities said.
The damage comes as the island nation is still recovering from last year’s Hurricane Ivan, which destroyed thousands of residences and damaged 90 percent of the historic Georgian buildings in the capital.
“Just as we were trying to rebuild … this is a very, very major setback,” said Barry Colleymore, a spokesman for Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. “There’s been lots of destruction.”
The Organization of American States expressed concern at the prospect of a “severe economic setback” to countries hit by hurricanes, especially Grenada, and called an emergency meeting for Friday.
A man in his 40s was killed when a landslide crushed his home in St. Andrew’s, said Allen McGuire, Grenada’s consul general in New York City.
In the capital, St. George’s, winds blew out windows and caused flooding, Colleymore said. On Carriacou, the storm damaged the roof of the only hospital, forcing the evacuation of patients, officials said. Sixteen houses were destroyed and more than 200 were damaged, McGuire said.
Elsewhere in the country, two police stations and two homes for the elderly also lost their roofs, landslides and fallen trees blocked roads, streets were flooded and crops were destroyed.