Hurricane Irene Shutters US Embassy in The Bahamas, Dependents Now on Authorized Departure

Map of The Bahamas (excluding the Turks and Ca...Image via WikipediaThe US Embassy in Nassau issued its Hurricane Irene Update on August 24, 2011:

This emergency message is being issued by the U.S. Embassy in Nassau to update U.S. citizens residing or travelling in The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos regarding Hurricane Irene.

On August 25-26, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau will be closed except for emergency services to U.S. citizens.

As of 2:00 p.m., the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau is closed with tentative plans to reopen on Thursday, August 25, at 5:00 p.m. Hurricane Irene has become a strong category 3 hurricane with sustained winds at 120-125 mph. It is possible that the storm will strengthen still more on Thursday.

U.S. citizens in the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos should have already completed any necessary actions to ensure their safety, and should remain indoors in a secure dwelling or shelter during this hurricane. Small craft operators in should remain in port. U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events, weather and marine forecasts, and monitor the National Hurricane Center and local media to stay aware of any weather developments in their area. For official information from the Bahamian and TCI governments regarding weather conditions, please monitor ZNS or other local media outlets.

Read in full here.

On August 23, the embassy’s warden message includes an announcement that embassy dependents have been approved for authorized departure (leaving optional). Excerpt below:

The Under Secretary for Management has approved the authorized departure of dependents of U.S. Embassy personnel prior to the arrival of Hurricane Irene – expected on Thursday morning, August 25. The Department of State has issued a Travel Warning advising U.S. citizens to defer travel to the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos. We strongly urge U.S. citizens in The Bahamas to seriously consider departing while commercial flights are still available. It has been reported that the airport in the Turks and Caicos is already closed: U.S. citizens still there should seek cover immediately. The ability of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau to provide services in the aftermath of a hurricane will be severely limited. The Bahamas will soon be deciding if a suspension of flights is required. In general, Nassau’s international airport is closed if wind speeds reach more than 40 mph.

The embassy’s warden page with updates is here.