Hurricane Irma is already beginning its devastation—and the damage is already astonishing.
The storm made landfall in Barbuda Wednesday as a Category 5 hurricane, and the damage done to the small island does not bode well for the targets in its path: the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida.
Noted Taylor Trogdon of the U.S. National Hurricane Center of the storm: “I am at a complete and utter loss for words looking at Irma’s appearance on satellite imagery.”
Irma became a Category 5 hurricane on Tuesday, and is now the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, with speeds reaching as high as 185 miles per hour. So forceful is the storm, it is even showing up on seismographs—as if it were an earthquake!
Similar sentiments came via Meteorological Operations Manager Anthony Sagliani of weather data firm Earth Networks, who tweeted Wednesday, “No way to sugarcoat it. Irma is the type of tropical cyclone that wipes everything, including all vegetation, clean from small islands.”
The U.S. Virgin Islands are next in the path, with landfall expected later Wednesday and Florida next.
Tuesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott reminded all Floridians of the mandatory evacuation order, and officials in the Florida Keys noted that the mandatory evacuations for the island chain’s 80,000 people had already begin. Additionally, the U.S. Navy has already begun evacuations of the more than 5,000 military personnel, their families, and contractors from Naval Air Station Key West.
And Irma follows Hurricane Harvey, which landed in Texas and began its own path of destruction on August 25th. Harvey, which was a Category 4 hurricane when it landed, may cost as much as $180 billion in damage according to Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s statement last weekend.
So far sixty deaths have been reported as a result of Harvey’s damages.
It’s expected that Congress will debate an aid package of roughly $8 billion in aid to help the undermanned Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Harvey recovery efforts. Irma may only exacerbate those issues.
President Trump’s Caribbean mansion is currently in the path of Irma, meaning his 11-room, $28 million mansion on St. Martin could be hit hard by the hurricane.
Additionally, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is warning that the storm “will bring life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall hazards” ahead of landfall in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
*This content was inspired by an amazing article that can be found here.