Florida braces up for hurricane Irma

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Washington | Published: September 7, 2017 12:51:57 PM

US's coastal state of Florida is bracing up for Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, that has devastated several smaller Caribbean islands with tree-snapping winds and drenching rains before making a landfall.

US, Florida, Hurricane Irma, Atlantic Storms, Caribbean island, Irma, Atlantic Ocean, Indian, AmericanThe State Department warned US citizens to carefully reconsider travel to Cuba due to Hurricane Irma which is projected to impact Cuba. (Reuters)

US’s coastal state of Florida is bracing up for Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, that has devastated several smaller Caribbean islands with tree-snapping winds and drenching rains before making a landfall. Irma, with top sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, was on track to make landfall in South Florida on Sunday, becoming the second major hurricane to hit the US mainland a week after Harvey devastated major parts of Texas impacting millions of people.

Florida Governor Rock Scott yesterday declared a state of emergency and issued orders for mandatory evacuation for people living in some parts of the State. US President Donald Trump himself took stock of the situation and spoke with Scott and Mayors of some of the cities which are expected to be majorly hit once Irma does the landfall. “We are getting ready to respond to Hurricane Irma,” Trump said. “The winds coming now — Irma, they’re saying, is the largest one in recorded history in the Atlantic Ocean — coming out of the Atlantic, which gets big ones,” he said. Puerto Rico has already reported significant damage.

National Hurricane Center said that Hurricane Irma is now one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. “This massive category-5 storm has the potential to cause catastrophic destruction throughout the state and we are deeply concerned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will not have the resources it needs to respond if Congress does not act soon,” said Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson. Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez yesterday issued evacuation orders for 100,000 residents. The hurricane is expected to impact millions of Floridians, including thousands of Indian-Americans who live in the State. Florida has a vibrant Indian-American population.

The State Department warned US citizens to carefully reconsider travel to Cuba due to Hurricane Irma which is projected to impact Cuba. This storm may bring significant rainfall and wind that may result in life-threatening flooding, flash flooding, mudslides, and storm surge, it said. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund expressed her deep concern and sympathy for the countries affected by Hurricane Irma—one of the strongest Atlantic storms ever. “Several islands in the region have already suffered terrible damage from the storm, and others are still in its path. We are very saddened by the reports of lives lost and widespread destruction,” she said.

This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast said Evan Myers, AccuWeather expert senior meteorologist and chief operating officer. “It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey,” he said. “Because Irma is likely to move up along the east coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, people from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, should prepare to be ready to evacuate coastal areas, starting with South Florida now,” Myers added. The storm should be taken very seriously and preparations should be hurried to completion, he said.

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