Hurricane Irma hit the island of Barbuda as a category 5 hurricane. Sustained winds of 118 mph with gusts at least 154 mph were recorded before the anemometer failed. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda has reported at least 90% of Barbuda is destroyed. Homes have been destroyed and communications have been lost. Flash flooding due to storm surge and heavy rain has left buildings under water. The destruction is not over, unfortunately. Irma is continuing west-northwest as a category 5 hurricane. Hurricane Irma will create a swath of destruction from Puerto Rico to Cuba before she’s forecasted to make a sharp turn to the north, threatening the Florida Keys. The National Hurricane Center has forecasted that Irma will remain a major hurricane for at least the next 5 days. Low vertical wind shear and warm waters will help Irma remain a very powerful hurricane. Irma is expected to impact Puerto Rico tonight with life-threatening conditions. Conditions in Hispanola will deteriorate quickly as Irma approaches on Thursday. The northwestern Bahamas as well as Cuba should start feeling the effects on Friday and will last into Saturday. The Florida Keys are increasingly becoming a concern. Anyone on the southeast coast of the United States should be staying updated on the path of Irma and plan accordingly. People in Puerto Rico to Cuba need to be rushing their preparations to completion.
Stay updated on Hurricane Irma as she creates a path of destruction in the Caribbean Sea here!
ⓒ 2017 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell