Associated Press (via NY Daily News):
The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean early Wednesday, churning along a path pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.
The eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m., the National Weather Service said. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down. Heavy rain and howling winds raked the neighboring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.
CNN notes that the eye of the storm was bigger than the island of Barbuda.
The forecast is for the storm to swing north toward Florida, as you can see in the National Hurricane Center cone illustration above. A South Florida strike is forecast four or five days from now.
FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency – has information on how to prepare for a hurricane.
Hurricane Irma has reached category 5 strength and Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for all 67 counties across the state. A mandatory evacuation of visitors and residents of the Florida Keys will go into effect on Wednesday.
The storm is an immediate threat to the small islands of the northern Leewards, including Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Sunday night, as Hurricane Irma toggles between Category 2 and Category 3, Weather Underground gives us the . . .
Bottom line: Irma is a growing threat to the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles, and the Eastern Bahamas. Irma is expected to be drawing closer to the East Coast as a powerful Category 4 hurricane this weekend, but it is still too soon to predict the timing and location of any potential landfall with confidence, and it is still possible Irma will move out to sea.
Do you have a hurricane plan?
- Yes: Make sure it is ready to go.
- No: Here are some basics on what you need.
The tragedy of Hurricane Harvey continues, but Hurricane Irma lurks.
As I write this (1 p.m. Saturday) Irma has sustained winds of 110 mph, which puts it at the top of Category 2 status. It could reach Cat 4 soon, according to the National Weather Service, and its path could take it to the East Coast by mid-week.
If you live along the East Coast – and with Harvey fresh in mind – it really, really makes sense to make sure Irma doesn’t surprise you.
FEMA gives a complete rundown of what to do before and after a storm here.
Here is industry-focused news pertaining to Hurricane Harvey. This post will be updated periodically. Continue reading 2017 Hurricanes: Industry Update: 9/19