Published: Fri, September 08, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Florida declares state of emergency with eye on Category 4 Irma

Florida declares state of emergency with eye on Category 4 Irma

Irma, a category 3 hurricane on a scale of 5, with winds that reached 195 km/h, should continue to strengthen "over the next two days", said the NHC.

A few hours later, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in all 67 counties in the state. The storm is still hanging out in the Atlantic Ocean, gaining steam in the warm water but could hit the Caribbean islands in the next 36 hours and could touch US soil by next week.

Irma picked up strength and has become an "extremely dangerous" Category Five hurricane as it approached the Caribbean on Tuesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre reported.

Although it's still too early to say whether Irma would make landfall on the mainland U.S., McNoldy cites long-range forecasts showing possible landfalls on the border between the Carolinas, or alternately near Miami.

"That's going to help the storm intensify". A tropical storm watch was in effect for Dominica while a tropical storm warning was in effect for Guadeloupe.

It's too soon to know the impact Irma could have on the continental United States, where no warnings or watches are now in effect. Irma was centered 790km east of the Leeward Islands and moving west at 20km/h.

At a news conference on Monday, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricard Rossello warned of flooding and power outages.

Historical Hurricane Tracks in the Virgin Islands 1950-2016
Florida declares state of emergency with eye on Category 4 Irma

Irma will pass near or over Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts Tuesday night, and just north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Wednesday night.

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. "A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations hard or unsafe".

Hurricane research planes have been flying through and around Irma since Sunday gathering data and information about the structure and intensity of the storm, as well as hopefully add to some consistency and accuracy in model forecasts assuming better analysis/input for the models.

Unlike Harvey, Irma is not expected to douse impacted areas with record-breaking rain, Babcock said. Irma will be the second powerful hurricane to thrash the United States and its territories in consecutive weeks.

Irma's precise path remains unclear, but several projections have it passing over the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before turning north toward Florida and then possibly swinging up the US East Coast.

Bright urged residents to visit the Hurricane Center's and the Weather Service's websites for updates and storm preparedness tips.

Scott, in a statement, said the hurricane is a "life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared".

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