Hurricane Irma has grown into a massive Category 5 storm that is now surging through the Caribbean towards Florida. Irma’s looming threat to the large tropical island area has already triggered evacuation measures and other hurricane-based precautions. The hurricane also helped to sink stocks with strong ties to the Caribbean tourism industry on Tuesday.
The National Hurricane Center recently updated its assessment of Hurricane Irma and outlined details of the tropical storm’s likely path though the Caribbean.
“Irma is a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane and will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards to portions of the northeastern Leeward Islands beginning later today and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico beginning tomorrow,” the NHC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The center also issued hurricane watches for a portion of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the southeastern Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos. Irma is set to hit these areas by Thursday and Friday.
The new report also suggests that the rest of the Bahamas, Cuba, Florida, and the Keys are on watch for later this week.
“However, it is too soon to specify the timing and magnitude of the impacts,” the NHC noted. “Elsewhere, it is too early to determine what direct impact Irma might have on the continental United States.”
Irma is currently belting out 180 miles winds east of Antigua with a Northwestern trajectory. The storm is expected to remain a strong Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the coming days. Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the entire state yesterday. He also called for all 7,000 National Guard members in the state to report for duty this Friday.
The new Irma report prompted Governor Scott to continue his now-constant tropical storm watch and preparation updates to Florida residents on Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) .
Now, aside from the very real threats to homes, property, infrastructure, and peoples’ safety and lives, companies with exposure to the Caribbean tourism industry are starting to feel some of Irma’s impact (also read: As Hurricane Irma Gets Stronger, Restaurant Stocks Get Weaker).
Shares of major cruise line stocks tanked on Tuesday. Carnival (CCL - Free Report) , and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH - Free Report) both saw their stock prices fall by over 3%, while Royal Caribbean (RCL - Free Report) stock dipped 4.15%.
Massive travel-based booking companies including Expedia (EXPE - Free Report) and Priceline saw their stock prices experience marginal losses. Shares of Trivago (TRVG - Free Report) dropped by more than 3.70%.
Shares of hotel industry giants Hyatt (H - Free Report) , Hilton (HLT - Free Report) , and Marriott (MAR - Free Report) all dropped by roughly 1.5%.
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