Hurricane Irma, now listed as the strongest hurricane to come out of the Atlantic basin, outside of the Caribbean Sea and gulf of Mexico – has made landfall over Barbuba. The monster storm packed winds of 200 mph, with sustained winds of 185 mph. At 5 a.m. this morning, its sight was set on St. Martin as it moved west, northwest at approximately 15 mph.
The projected path of Irma has most of the models taking it along the northern parts of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Cuba through the next three days. The trajectory gets more difficult to predict after that, with most models now taking Irma through the base of Florida and continuing up the middle of the state, or possibly shifting and heading up to the Carolinas and wreaking havoc on the east coast.
Forecasters believe that Irma will make landfall as a category 3 hurricane in Florida on Sunday afternoon, depending upon the storm’s continued direction. Preparations including evacuations have been underway since Gov. Rick Scott declared all of Florida in a state of emergency on Monday.
Evacuations from Monroe County (the Florida Keys) has been ongoing and is now mandatory according to the Florida Keys Sheriff’s Office. Many residents and visitors evacuated earlier this week, including Naval Air Station Key West, which included at least 5,500 personnel, employees, and family members.
Gas shortages are being reported in areas of South Florida. Stations in Miami, Lauderhill, and Jupiter have had long lines waiting to refuel or have run out of fuel and are waiting for additional supplies.
All residents and visitors in the possible path of Irma are urged to finalize storm preparations/evacuations and make their plans known to a trusted contact outside of the storm area.
We will continue to update information on Hurricane Irma.