Updated at 6 a.m. 09/07/17
The historic Category 5 Hurricane Irma has passed over Caribbean islands, and the damage has been devastating. Antigua and Barbuda, along with surrounding islands, have received total devastation. The Telegraph reported that Gaston Browne, the prime minister of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, described the island as “barely habitable.”
Other islands are riding out the storm through the night.
Pictured above is St. Thomas, which is east of Puerto Rico.
The massive hurricane has hit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and will be making its away across the north shore of Cuba starting Friday. After that, Irma will have its sights set on the United States.
Meteorologists have a better idea of the general direction the storm will go next week. Currently, they predict the hurricane may go up the east coast and make landfall around South Carolina.
Roy Cooper, governor of North Carolina, issued a state of emergency in advance of the coming storm.
Updated at 3 p.m. 09/05/17
The National Hurricane Center has announced that Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5 storm, making it one of the strongest storms ever observed. Dr. Jeff Masters, co-founder of Weather Underground, said, “Irma’s winds are the most powerful ever measured in an Atlantic hurricane north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Meteorologists were hoping it would not reach this level, but the growing storm now has sustained winds of 180 mph and gusts of almost 200 mph.
As the days go by, the path of Irma is becoming more clear. The storm will potentially go straight through Florida and is staying south of where the historic Hurricane Hugo traveled. Unlike Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hugo in 1989, Irma has already become a historic hurricane hundreds of miles from the continental United States.
Currently, the Greater Antilles are directly in the path of Hurricane Irma, and the chance of most of Florida being hit is increasing, according to the National Hurricane Center five-day outlook.
Hurricane Irma is building momentum in the Atlantic Ocean, and it looks a lot like a Category 5 hurricane that made its way through the Caribbean and later the Carolinas in 1989.
For those who remember 1989, Hurricane Hugo still brings back haunting memories. The hurricane destroyed or damaged thousands of homes throughout the Carolinas after making landfall in South Carolina as a Category 4 storm.
Irma is currently making its way toward Puerto Rico as it nears becoming a Category 3 storm.
Hurricanes gain power through warm ocean waters, which from Puerto Rico to the east coast, there is no shortage of. According to NASA, ocean waters above 79 degrees Fahrenheit are one of the main sources of power of a growing hurricane. On the current projected path, Irma is treading through 80 to 86 degree water.
You can find the latest information on Irma here.
Pictured below is the path of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.