Hurricane Irma: What we know now
Artikel Dalam Bahasa Inggeris
Hurricane Irma is spinning angrily in the Atlantic Ocean, a Category 5 monster with sustained winds of 175 m.p.h. roaring west toward islands in the northern Caribbean and, possibly, Florida. The storm is one of the strongest ever to form in the Atlantic. Here is what we know about Irma right now:
Irma is a mighty storm
Irma is an “extremely dangerous” storm likely to see some fluctuations in intensity over the next 48 hours, the National Weather Service warns. NWS says Irma will remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days, with hurricane-force winds extending up to 60 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend 160 miles.
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
Irma’s path: Florida could be slammed
The storm is heading west, and could roll across the Leeward Islands, Antigua and islands nearby later today. The Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico could take a hit Wednesday. After that, the forecast becomes less firm, but the storm has South Florida in its sights. Forecasters say that by early next week Florida, Georgia and/or the Carolinas could see Irma’s wrath, depending on where Irma tracks. The storm could even sweep into the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Damage could be catastrophic
If Irma does slam into the U.S. as a Category 5 hurricane, it wouldn’t be the first. Hurricane Andrew roared into South Florida 25 years ago, a fast-moving, tightly-wound hurricane that leveled entire neighborhoods, tossed cars, boats and mobile homes like small toys and left millions without power. The storm destroyed more than 25,000 homes, damaged 100,000 others. Fifteen people were killed directly by Andrew, and another 25 died in the hard weeks that followed. When a Category 5 hurricane hits land, “a high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed,” the National Hurricane Center warns, adding that power could be lost in some areas for “weeks and possible months.”
Preparations are underway
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello on Monday declared a states of emergency. Rossello on Tuesday met with mayors, National Guard leaders and emergency officials on the island. He issued a list of shelters and urged residents in high-risk areas to evacuate. He spoke by phone with White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly and with FEMA administrator Brock Long. FEMA tweeted a photo of a warehouse loaded with bottled water and other supplies “if needed.”
Scott executed his state of emergency across all 67 counties to ensure local governments “have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm.” He urged Floridians to make disaster preparedness plans for their families. He spoke with President Trump and said the president promised “the full resources of the federal government.”
Travel, tourism making adjustments
Some of the islands in Irma’s path are major tourism draws, and the scramble to reroute tourists is on. Cruise lines are taking steps, with Carnival saying four of its ships are rerouting to avoid the Eastern Caribbean and Irma. The Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Allure of the Seas, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, also announced a re-route. Some airlines have begun waiving change fees to Caribbean destinations, and the program could be expanded to the U.S. mainland in coming days.
Source: USA Today