North Texan concerned about family in Irma's path

With Hurricane Irma already claiming at least three lives in the Caribbean, some North Texans are worried about family members in the category 5 storm’s path.

The storm is being called one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century. It's currently threatening Puerto Rico and is headed for Florida with possible landfall there by the end of the weekend.

But the National Hurricane Center says Irma's trajectory still remains uncertain.

It’s a storm so powerful that it damaged or destroyed more than 50 percent of the homes on the island of St. Croix. The high winds and heavy rains tore through the heart of the north eastern Caribbean islands of Antigua, Barbuda and St. Martin early Wednesday morning.

Philbert Modeste is a native of St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. He fears for the worst. Modeste, an engineer and member of the FOX 4 family, is worried about his own family on the island as the nearly 200-mile-an-hour storm skirted the north side.

"This is bad. This is worse than Hugo in terms of intensity,” he said. “Hugo was a 4 when it hit the island and nearly destroyed it."

Modeste spoke with his father Wednesday morning before losing contact.

"He felt pretty laid back. He's 76 so he's seen a lot of hurricanes,” he said.  "I know flooding is a big problem. It usually floods in low-lying areas. But for the most part, the water drains pretty fast."

It's too soon to know the extent of damage and injuries on many islands. But Modeste says people don't typically evacuate even when the eye of the coming storm is larger than the island.

“They survived Hugo except for the roof.  Pretty much everyone lost their roof,” he said. "Everyone has a generator, a lesson learned from Hugo.  You know it took a year to get power."

The death toll for Hurricane Irma remains at three, but there are a lot of search and rescue efforts ongoing in the hardest hit of the Caribbean Islands.

Modeste was able to make contact with his family and says they are doing well, as is their home.

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