(CNN) – As Hurricane Irma’s eye roars away from the tiny island of Barbuda and toward St. Martin, residents along its path scrambled to evacuate, and stocked up on water, food and gas.
The massive eye stared down on the tiny island of Barbuda early Wednesday, thrashing it with howling winds before marching along its path on the Caribbean.
Irma’s eye was bigger than Barbuda, CNN meteorologist Jenn Varian said. It packed winds of 185 mph, making it one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded.
The Category 5 hurricane is “potentially catastrophic,” especially if it hits islands at high tides, the National Hurricane Center
— Islands along its path include Puerto Rico, Barbuda, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the US Virgin Islands.
— In the US Virgin Islands, Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp ordered a 36-hour curfew starting Wednesday at 6 a.m. local time.
— “The beginning of the curfew coincides with the expected arrival of heavy rain and strong winds associated with Irma,” Mapp said.
— In the Bahamas, emergency evacuations have been ordered for six southern islands
— Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.
— “This is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country,” Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.
— Bahamian officials also canceled vacation time for police and defense forces.
— Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night.
— “Interests in the Leeward Islands should monitor the progress of Jose,” the National Hurricane Center said.