Hurricane Irma is barreling towards southern Florida, with weather experts describing her as a “major, dangerous” storm. Irma is expected to make landfall near Miami as a Category 5 or strong Category 4 hurricane, having only slowed down marginally since tearing through Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands.
Fox News reports that at least 500,000 residents of southern Florida have been evacuated, and Gov. Rick Scott today told those in evacuation zones to leave their homes. He warned:
“Do not try to ride out this storm … we can’t save you once the storm hits.”
Irma has already left a path of destruction in her wake. Reports out of Puerto Rico are that 1 million people are without power, and the tiny island of Barbuda is said to be in shambles. Billionaire Richard Branson, who rode out the hurricane on his private island in the British Virgin Islands, said the area has been “utterly devastated.”
As if Irma weren’t enough to deal with, two other hurricanes have developed in the Atlantic basin. Hurricane Jose, who is taking a similar path to Irma, was upgraded earlier this evening to a Category 3. Jose is not expected to make landfall, but islands decimated by Irma are likely to feel his wrath nonetheless.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 7, 2017
Hurricane Katia is a Category 1 storm currently hanging out in the Gulf of Mexico, not far from where Harvey formed. She is not expected to hit the U.S., but will likely affect Mexico.
Back in Florida, interstates are jammed with cars carrying residents looking to get out of Irma’s way. Miami-Dade and Broward counties issued mandatory evacuation orders for barrier islands and low-lying mainland areas, and shelters are being readied to house evacuees.
Here’s a look at how Irma’s eye has developed over the last few days. She’s a beast, you all.
— NASA SPoRT (@NASA_SPoRT) September 7, 2017
Stay safe, Florida!