Wednesday, 6 September 2017 : Hurricane Irma strengthened into a highly dangerous Category 5 storm on Tuesday as it barreled toward the Caribbean and the southern United States, even as Texas and Louisiana still reeled from devastating Hurricane Harvey.
Hurricane warnings were in effect for much of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as the storm packed winds of up to 175 miles per hour (280 km/h), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
“Irma becomes an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane,” the NHC said on Tuesday, adding that it could strengthen. “Preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area.” Category 5 is the highest NHC designation.
Irma was about 270 miles (440 km) east of the island of Antigua and moving west at about 14 mph (22 kph), the NHC said. It was too early to forecast Irma’s exact path or any effects have on the continental United States, it cautioned.
Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello urged the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory to leave areas expected to be lashed by high winds and torrential rains as early as Tuesday night and seek refuge in one of 460 hurricane shelters.
“This is something without precedent,” Rossello told a news conference. He will ask U.S. President Donald Trump to declare a federal state of emergency even before the storm passes to allow disbursement of U.S. emergency funds.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Tuesday he also asked Trump to make a “pre-landfall” emergency declaration. Irma is expected to reach southern Florida on Saturday.
Scott said he spoke with Trump on Monday night after the governor declared a state of emergency for all of Florida’s 67 counties. He said the president “offered the full resources of the federal government.”
Source : Internet