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Hurricane Irma hits St. Martin, Florida prepares with evacuation

Staff Writer |
Hurricane Irma hammered the Caribbean island of St. Martin on Wednesday as it packed a potentially catastrophic mix of pounding winds and rain and surging surf that was expected to make landfall in Florida over the weekend.

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Irma could become the second powerful storm to thrash the U.S. mainland in as many weeks, but its precise trajectory remained uncertain.

Hurricane Harvey killed more than 60 people and caused as much as $180 billion in damage after hitting Texas late last month.

The eye of Irma, a Category 5 storm with winds of 185 miles per hour (295 km per hour), was bearing down on the Virgin Islands after passing over the half-French, half-Dutch island of St. Martin, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami said. Category 5 is its highest category.

Communities in Southern Florida are preparing for the potentially catastrophic effects of Hurricane Irma by issuing evacuation orders for residents and visitors, shutting down offices and schools, and opening shelters capable of keeping tens of thousands of residents safe.

As Irma slammed into the Caribbean on its way toward Puerto Rico, officials in several South Florida counties began to prepare for the potential landfall of a record-setting hurricane.

While Irma’s projected path isn’t perfectly clear at this point, projections show an increasing possibility of it hitting southeastern Florida near Miami, and bringing potentially deadly winds to much of the southern portion of that American peninsula.

Irma is on track to hit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and is expected to bring with it maximum sustained winds reaching 185 miles per hour.


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