Island nations preparing for Hurricane Irma

Air Transat says it has launched an evacuation operation to get all its travellers out of the Dominican Republic ahead of the arrival of hurricane Irma.
   
The Montreal-based airline says it is sending 10 aircraft to the Caribbean nation, seven to Punta Cana, two to Puerto Plata and one to Samana.

 Air Transat says all aircraft should arrive in the Dominican Republic by this morning and passengers should be back in Canada by afternoon or early evening.
 
Irma, considered the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, was bearing down on the islands of the northeast Caribbean late Tuesday, following a path predicted to then rake Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida.

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating six islands in the south because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the ``potentially catastrophic'' storm.

People there would be flown to Nassau starting today in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country's history.

Officials in the Florida Keys are also expected to announce evacuations.
    
The mandatory evacuation for visitors is expected to start today and for residents tomorrow.