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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

'May God Protect Us All' Mass Evacuation From Caribbean And Florida Keys As Hurricane Irma With 185mph Winds Swells To The Size Of FRANCE And Becomes The Most Powerful Storm Ever To Hit The Atlantic Ocean

Hurricane Irma strengthened into a powerful Category 5 storm on Tuesday. Above, a satellite view of the storm on Tuesday
Mass evacuations are to take place in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean after a hurricane the size of France became the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean with 185mph winds. 
America's National Hurricane Center said Irma had strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm as it made its first landfall in islands of northeast Caribbean on a path that could take it to the United States - causing thousands to start panic buying and preparing to evacuate.
This morning, the eye of the 'potentially catastrophic' hurricane hit 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 raked the neighboring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters. The island of Anguilla is next in its path.

Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands  are already stocking up on supplies for the hurricane, which is expected to hit between Wednesday and Thursday 
U.S. President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate the residents of six islands at the southern end of the island chain.  
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. 
It is expected to become the second powerful storm to thrash the U.S. mainland in as many weeks after devastating Hurricane Harvey. 
In addition to Irma, Tropical Storm Jose has now formed behind it in the open Atlantic far from land. Jose is the 10th tropical storm of the season. It has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is about 1505 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.  
Jackie Kreuter, 56, of Gulfport, Florida, tosses pool furniture in his pool on Tuesday so it doesn't fly around during the impending hurricane. Kreuter, along with her mother, husband, sister, daughter, grandson, five dogs and a bird are boarding up their home and business and leaving for Ocala to get out of Hurricane Irma's way
Jackie Kreuter, 56, of Gulfport, Florida, tosses pool furniture in his pool on Tuesday so it doesn't fly around during the impending hurricane. Kreuter, along with her mother, husband, sister, daughter, grandson, five dogs and a bird are boarding up their home and business and leaving for Ocala to get out of Hurricane Irma's way

Residents purchase water at BJ Wholesale in preparation for Hurricane Irma on Tuesday in Miami, Florida

Residents purchase water at BJ Wholesale in preparation for Hurricane Irma on Tuesday in Miami, Florida
Four other storms have had winds that strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they have been in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico where the usually warmer waters fuel tropical cyclones. Experts say Irma's strength is a result of unusually warm water for that part of the Atlantic. 
The center said there was a growing possibility that the storm's effects could be felt in Florida later this week and over the weekend, though it was still too early to be sure of its future track: 'Everyone in hurricane-prone areas should ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.'

So far, a state of emergency has been called in the state and a mandatory evacuation is under way in the Florida Keys.  Schools there are also cancelled until further notice. 
Governor Rick Scott activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard to be deployed across the state, and 7,000 more National Guard members were to report for duty on Friday when the storm could be approaching. 
It's still unclear which direction the storm will take as it inches close to the U.S. later this week, but south Florida will no doubt feel some effects of the storm 
Pictures showed people rushing to stock up on drinking water, protective wooden boards for their windows and other supplies.
Meanwhile, tourists have had their Caribbean holiday plans thrown into chaos as Hurricane Irma forces airlines to ground or divert flights.
Antigua airport will be closed on Wednesday and San Juan airport, the busiest in Puerto Rico, has cancelled about 40 per cent of its flights in response to the hurricane.
British Airways sent an empty aircraft to the region to bring customers back early - the full flight of 326 passengers touched down in the UK on Tuesday evening.
It also cancelled a flight from the UK heading to Antigua and then on to Tobago.

Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 10 inches of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet. 
Government officials began evacuations and urged people to finalize all preparations as shelves emptied out across islands including Puerto Rico.
'The decisions that we make in the next couple of hours can make the difference between life and death,' Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. 'This is an extremely dangerous storm.' 

Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are expected to get severe rainfall from Irma 
Residents on the U.S. East Coast were urged to monitor the storm's progress in case it should turn northward toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.
'This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey,' Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement.  
Florida Governor Rick Scott declared the state of emergency for all 67 counties in the state on Monday after some forecasts showed the powerful storm could be headed for the East Coast. 
'Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Hurricane Irma and current forecast models have Florida in Irma's path - potentially impacting millions of Floridians,' Scott said. 
'Today, given these forecasts and the intensity of this storm, I have declared a state of emergency for every county in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and make sure resources are dispersed to local communities as we get prepared for this storm.' 
He also ordered the suspension of road tolls across the state and activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard to prepare for Hurricane Irma.
A resident adds the finishing touches to boarding up his homeThe storm was moving towards the west at 14 miles per hour, and is expected to drop between four and eight inches of rain when it hits land
'I will be on Necker alongside our team, as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years.'

His main concern, he added, was for the locals on the British Virgin Islands - as well as the wildlife.

He explained: 'I am also concerned for the wonderful wildlife of the BVI, not least on Necker and Moskito, where many flamingos, lemurs, scarlet ibis and other stunning species live.

'Hopefully all people and animals can keep out of harm’s way in the coming days.'

Hurricanes, he said, are 'one of the wonders of the natural world', adding: 'The power of the sea breaking over the cliff tops, the eerie hush when you are in the eye of the hurricane and then the roar of the winds, the lightning and the rain.'

And the businessman also took the opportunity to discuss the need to support the Paris agreement on clean energy.

He said: 'Man-made climate change is a key factor in the increasing intensity of these hurricanes, as many experts have suggested. The damage caused by Harvey all over Texas is a tragic and costly reminder that our climate is changing and that we are not doing enough to tackle this enormous challenge.' 

After loading the back of her vehicle with food Maria Minier loads a recently purchased wood panel to be used in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Carolina, Puerto Rico on Tuesday
After loading the back of her vehicle with food Maria Minier loads a recently purchased wood panel to be used in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Carolina, Puerto Rico on Tuesday

Cyber School Supply Christopher Rodriguez is supported as he installs wood panels over a storefront window in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on Tuesday
Cyber School Supply Christopher Rodriguez is supported as he installs wood panels over a storefront window in preparation for Hurricane Irma, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on Tuesday

Scott says in a statement that the initial 100 troops will be stationed throughout the state. Some 7,000 National Guard members will report to duty Friday, when the storm could be bearing down on Florida.
Scott says tolls will be suspended to keep traffic flowing as residents begin to evacuate coastal areas in the potential path of the dangerous Category 5 storm.
The governor adds that tolls will remain suspended 'for the duration of the storm's impacts to Florida.' 
Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County's mayor says residents and visitors should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach, as soon as Wednesday evening. 
An NFL game to be played between the the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday has also been cancelled.  
Water and basic foodstuffs are already flying off the shelves of some stores in Florida. 
Pablo Rodriguez surveyed the empty water aisle at a Fort Lauderdale Winn Dixie with dismay, saying 'I was hoping to get a few cases.'
The 65-year-old said he would have to try other shops, because 'all the people are stocking up quick.'
People buy materials at a hardware store on Monday after Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency in preparation for Hurricane Irma
Theresa Webster, 60, of Fort Lauderdale had heard water was sold out at Publix but still available at Winn Dixie, but there was none by the time she got there in the afternoon.
She was also stocking up on canned tuna, crackers and bread.
Said Webster: 'I got some water already but I wanted more.'
By mid-day Monday, many grocery stores across South Florida had been emptied of bottled water and stores were hoping to restock beginning Tuesday morning.
States of emergency were also declared in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands where residents rushed to find last-minute supplies, forming long lines outside supermarkets and gas stations. 

Via - Dailymail

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