Hurricane Irma has slammed into the Caribbean, pushing 185mph winds with her. Mass evacuations are expected to occur today as assorted aid charities are working towards a massive humanitarian response.
The storm gained strength and became a Category 5 storm, according to America’s National Hurricane Center, as it made its first contact with land in northeast Caribbean islands. This path could launch Irma to the east coast of the U.S.
Thousands, if not millions, of people are preparing for this hurricane.
According to the Daily Mail: This morning, the eye of the ‘potentially catastrophic’ hurricane – estimated to be the size of France – lashed Barbuda just hours after officials warned people to seek protection from Irma’s ‘onslaught’ in a statement that closed with: ‘May God protect us all.’
Heavy rain and howling winds from the hurricane – measured as the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean – also raked Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.
Officials said the French islands Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin have also been ‘battered extremely violently’ with even sturdy government buildings destroyed.
After the governor of Florida issued a state of emergency for all of Florida, President Donald Trump backed it up adding to the list Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Bahamian authorities have reported they plan to evacuate residents on 6 islands at the southern end of the island chain.
Mandatory evacuations of the Florida Keys is in progress.
Experts say Irma is now so powerful it is registering on devices designed to detect earthquakes. Scientists picked up the background noise of winds causing trees to move and crashing ocean waves on their earthquake-detecting seismometers.
In addition to Irma, Tropical Storm Jose has now formed behind it in the open Atlantic and is expected to develop into a hurricane. A third tropical storm – Katia – has also formed in the Gulf of Mexico with winds but is expected to stay offshore until Friday morning.