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article imageExtremely dangerous Hurricane Irma moves toward Caribbean Islands

By Karen Graham     Sep 5, 2017 in Environment
"Hurricane Irma has intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center says, citing the latest data from NOAA and Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft.
“Irma becomes an extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane,” the NHC said on Tuesday, adding that it could gain even more strength and preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area.
Irma is located about 270 miles (440 kilometers) East of Antigua and 280 miles (445 kilometers east-southeast of Barbuda, moving at 14 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 kph). The minimum central pressure is 929 MB, 27.44 inches.
The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a Hurricane Watch from Cabo Engano to the northern border with Haiti and a Tropical Storm Watch from south of Cabo Engao to Isla Saona. ”Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard in the economically struggling U.S. Territory of 3.4 million people.
In a news conference, Governor Rossello said, “There is no positive sign that it’s going to go in another direction. We’re expecting that it’s coming at Puerto Rico with force, and we’ve got to be ready for it."
Irma is currently expected to hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday before continuing on toward the Dominican Republic and Cuba, where Irma could cause severe devastation as it moves over the area. The hurricane is expected to maintain winds of 150 mph for the next five days, though.
Projected path of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 5  2017 at 8:00 a.m.
Projected path of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 5, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.
Hurricane Irma's path uncertain
As for Hurricane Irma's path later in the week, it is still too early to tell with certainty where it will hit. The NHC is warning of "some impacts from Irma in the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys later this week and this weekend."
Irma will be the second powerful hurricane to hit the United States and its territories in the last two weeks. Hurricane Harvey wrecking devastation on Texas and Louisiana, killing at least 50 people and leaving over one million residents displaced.
President Trump has already asked Congress for a small portion of the aid money needed for recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana and with the expected hit by Irma on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the government's job will not be over anytime soon, as funds will also need to be directed to our territories.
The damages will be extreme, according to the NHC: "A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."
More about Hurricane, Irma, Puerto rico, US Virgin Islands, category 5
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