Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history, slammed several Caribbean islands with Category 5 winds on Wednesday, leaving a path of destruction that we’re just starting to see.
So far Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barts have all taken direct hits from the storm.
Irma first made landfall in Barbuda — an island with a population of about 1,600 — around 1:47 a.m. ET Wednesday. Local weather stations there captured wind gusts of 250km/h before going silent, indicating the instruments had been blown away. Irma’s sustained winds have been reported at 295km/h.
By around 8 a.m. ET, the eye wall of the storm had reached Anguilla, St. Martin, and St. Barts, causing widespread, severe damage, as photos and videos from those islands and others nearby show.
YIKES! Destruction & flooding seen this morning from Hurricane Irma in Saint Barthélemy. Photo credit: Carole Greaux. #Hurricane #Irma pic.twitter.com/pjgimSnWUW
— Mark Tarello (@mark_tarello) September 6, 2017
The US and British Virgin Islands were hit by the storm on Wednesday afternoon as well.
According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center, Irma is near Puerto Rico. The island is already feeling heavy effects from the storm, with hundreds of thousands without electricity. Some may not get power back for four to six months.
Irma a épargné la Guadeloupe mais ps ns compatriotes de St-barthelemy & de St-Martin durement éprouvés. Ns sommes à vs côtés#IrmaHurricane pic.twitter.com/vGmqQkl8Uy
— Olivier SERVA Député (@olivier_serva) September 6, 2017
Luckily, the eye-wall of the storm seems to be passing north of the island, avoiding a direct hit on Puerto Rico.
After that, the forecast shows the storm putting the Bahamas in danger. Over the weekend, Irma could potentially hit South Florida or travel up the state’s east coast, though it is wide enough to affect the entire state.
St. Thomas in the #VirginIslands getting slammed by the eye wall of #HurricaneIrma this pm. Video from @sotsoy riding out the storm there. pic.twitter.com/OtzzxOmzgu
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) September 6, 2017
The #radar this afternoon of #Irma is absolutely textbook as it moves poleward of #PuertoRico‘s latitude. Eyewall should miss island. pic.twitter.com/A0qyVzStoU
— Philippe Papin (@pppapin) September 6, 2017
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