A super sized Category 5 Hurricane Irma is moving fast towards northeastern Caribbean island, threatening to hit Antigua, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center calls this storm “potentially catastrophic.” The storm may even hit the US mainland after moving over the Caribbean.
The death toll for this hurricane has been set at 134 deaths.
Update (9/11/17; 12:50 P.M.): Hurricane Irma downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday as it caused damage and flooding through Florida. One person in Shark Key, while two people were found dead in Monroe County, which is part of the Florida Keys. Two million people are without power.
Update (9/9/17; 2:24 P.M.): Irma has decreased its intensity after passing over Cuba last night. The hurricane has reduced itself to a Category 3 storm, with sustained winds up to 125 mph. The hurricane is currently moving west at 9 mph, with gusts of wind up to 155 mph. Irma is expected to become a Category 4 storm once it hits Florida tomorrow morning.
Update (9/8/17; 11:14 P.M.): Hurricane Irma has increased its wind speed, returning to Category 5 status. Sustained winds are currently blowing at 160 mph. As of 11 P.M., Irma has touched down on the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba.
Update (9/8/17; 9:19 P.M.): Hurricane Irma has decreased in intensity. The massive storm has reduced itself to a Category 4 hurricane, with 155 mph sustained winds and gusts of wind up to 190 mph. However, the forecast for Irma has it hitting Florida as a Category 5 hurricane. Therefore, the hurricane is expected to pick up strength in a matter of hours.
Update (9/7/17; 3:31 P.M.): Irma ripped through the Caribbean, devastating Haiti, Barbados, and the Dominican Republic. The death toll has risen to at least 11 causalities. Ninety-percent of the buildings in Barbados were reportedly damaged as a result of the storm.
Update (9/6/17; 9:30 P.M.): Hurricane Irma’s sustained winds has reached 185 mph. It is now the strongest hurricane to hit the Atlantic Basin in recorded history. Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared “a state of emergency” for the state of Florida. Key West has been evacuated. Many schools in South Florida has been closed as people flee the area. A state of emergency has also been declared on the island of Puerto Rico. Irma has already been named responsible for three deaths in the Caribbean. According to Newsweek, Hurricane Irma may knock out power in Puerto Rico for six months.
On Tuesday morning, Irma was traveling west with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph, which is quite a bit more the 157 mph threshold for a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At the time, the hurricane was 225 miles east of Antigua and Barbuda, according to the hurricane center.
By late Tuesday or early Wednesday, Irma is expected near or over Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla, according to the storm’s forecast track.
The hurricane center advised those living in the affected areas to make preparations immediately to protect your life and property.
The hurricane center’s Michael Brennan said,”We could see storm surges of 7 to 11 feet — that’s certainly life-threatening — and very, very heavy flooding rainfall.” He also warned that winds in the far northeastern Caribbean islands would cause massive damage next to the eye wall.
Hurricane Irma Forecast, Path & Map
The hurricane might hit Antigua, the Virgin Island and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. According to computer models, the hurricane will be traveling near the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba on Friday into Saturday. The storm may turn north towards Florida on the weekend.
Many residents in Florida are bracing for the storm. Long lines have reportedly been seen outside some store of Tuesday, full of shoppers preparing for the potential storm.
Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in preparation of the storm. Gov. Scott said that President Donald Trump had “offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma.”
Scott said in a statement, “In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.
But by Wednesday, the hurricane may lay the smackdown on the northeast Caribbean. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said on Tuesday that “Anguilla, all the way toward (Antigua and) Barbuda, all the way up even toward the British Virgin Islands (are) in grave danger of an eye wall hit at (at least) 150 mph — that devastates the island, no matter what island it is.”
Here are the Caribbean islands who are currently under hurricane warnings: Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and St. Barts.