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Edmonton family describes Dominican Republic resort evacuation ahead of Hurricane Irma

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Scott Bulat was vacationing in the Samana Peninsula with his family when Hurricane Irma triggered an emergency evacuation.

LIVE UPDATES: Tracking Hurricane Irma’s path

Bulat, along with his wife and mother-in-law, were staying at a resort on an island in the Dominican Republic when the storm started to blow in.

They were bussed to another resort four hours away in Punta Cana on Tuesday, as Irma approached the Caribbean.

READ MORE: At least 10 dead as Hurricane Irma rages through Caribbean, heads closer to Florida 

The storm was expected to hit the area at around 3 a.m. local time Thursday.

“We are all safe,” Bulat said in an email to Global News Thursday morning. “The eye of the storm passed in the night about 110 miles north of Punta Cana. We are all OK here and no heavy damage.

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“We are still experiencing higher than normal winds and on-and-off heavy showers.”

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Scott Bulat and his family were bussed from the Samana Peninsula to Punta Cana ahead of Hurricane Irma. Courtesy: Scott Bulat
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Scott Bulat and his family were bussed from the Samana Peninsula to Punta Cana ahead of Hurricane Irma. Courtesy: Scott Bulat
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Front lobby into the main pool area at a Punta Cana resort. Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2017. Courtesy: Scott Bulat
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Scott Bulat and his family were bussed from the Samana Peninsula to Punta Cana ahead of Hurricane Irma. Courtesy: Scott Bulat
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A photo of the resort next to where Bulat and his family were staying on Wednesday evening. Courtesy: Scott Bulat
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The restaurants were opened again to guests Thursday morning at resort in Punta Cana. Courtesy: Scott Bulat

He said the resort did a great job preparing for the incoming storm.

“They shut the beach down first thing in the morning, put all the chairs away. Then they cleaned up the pool area… They stack [the chairs] all nicely together and put them in the pool so they don’t blow away,” he told Global News via Skype on Wednesday night.
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READ MORE: Hurricane Irma photos reveal the destruction left in monster storm’s wake

“They’ve taken ceiling fans down in the open areas, lobbies, all the outside lights that are on poles, they’ve taken the lights off the top of them. All the speakers they have, they’ve either taken them down or wrapped them in tarps and rope,” Bulat said.

On Wednesday, he said the resort closed the last bar at around 6 p.m. and told all guests to go to their rooms.

“They did bring everybody food. We got breakfast and we got a sandwich for supper, a box of Fruit Loops, some milk, some water, some fruit… just a little to to get through the night and tomorrow morning in hopes of tomorrow afternoon things being straightened up around here.”

READ MORE: American Airlines cancels over 2,000 flights due to Hurricane Irma

For Bulat and his family, the question is: what’s next? They’re not scheduled to fly home until Sept. 16.

“We, as of Friday…don’t know where we’re going. Are we staying here? Going back to the other resort?

“It’s been tough to find some of the information online because they’re overcrowded.”

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