Paradise lost: Brute force of 185mph Hurricane Irma wreaks havoc as it tramples exotic Caribbean islands on its devastating march towards the east coast

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
By Paul Martin

Hurricane Irma strengthened to Category 5 storm sparking evacuations from Caribbean and the Florida Keys
The Red Cross said it is preparing for ‘a major humanitarian response’ after ‘extremely worrying’ forecasts
Irma has sustained winds of 185mph, making it the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean
Slammed in to Leeward Islands today and is set to hit Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Cuba
Leeward Islands officials warned of Irma’s ‘onslaught’ in a statement that closed with: ‘May God protect us all’
Still unclear where storm will hit in the U.S. but it could make landfall in Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas
Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency on Monday for all 67 counties in the state

6 September 2017

Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc after pummeling exotic Caribbean islands with 185mph winds on its devastating march towards the US east coast.

Aid agencies are bracing for a ‘major humanitarian response’ as the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic made its first landfall.

Buildings have been destroyed, roads flooded and people left trapped after the ‘monster’ storm – estimated to be the size of France – lashed the region 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 also raked Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or public shelters. French officials said Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin have been ‘battered extremely violently’ with even sturdy government buildings destroyed. Emergency food and water rations are being sent to the islands.

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 amid fears the hurricane is hurtling towards the US east coast. A mandatory evacuation is under way in the Florida Keys.

The president said the hurricane looks like ‘something that could be not good.’

Ahead of a meeting with Congressional leaders, Trump said the group had a lot to discuss, including what ‘seems to be record-breaking hurricane heading right toward Florida and Puerto Rico and other places.’

Trump said ‘we’ll see what happens.’ He added: ‘it looks like it could be something that could be not good, believe me not good.’

Meanwhile, billionaire Sir Richard Branson has announced that he will not leave his home on the British Virgin Islands as the storm rages in.

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.

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