Family safety a big concern for local residents as Hurricane Irma approaches

The hurricane is expected to impact Cuba, the northern Caribbean and south Florida

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm.

22News spoke to local residents in Holyoke who said their families in Puerto Rico are currently preparing for the storm

A state of emergency has already been declared in Puerto Rico, and the National Guard deployed before the hurricane is expected to hit ground Wednesday.

The owners of a restaurant in Holyoke told 22News said their families are fearful of the storm.

The national weather service is predicting very dangerous winds of over 75 miles per hour will hit Puerto Rico by Wednesday evening.

The owners of the Fernandez family restaurant in Holyoke said their family members have been stocking up on food and water ahead of the storm.

They said they’re being told power could be out on the island for as long as six months. The two said after seeing the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, it’s impossible not to be fearful.

The hurricane is expected to impact Cuba, the northern Caribbean and south Florida.