Hurricane Irma tracking west-northwest, hurricane watch in effect for portions of Florida

Hurricane Irma remains a Category 5 storm as of the National Hurricane Center's 11 a.m. advisory and the storm continues to move on a west-northwest track.

A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of south Florida and the Florida Keys. Irma has maximum sustained winds of 175 mph.

FOX8 Meteorologist Emily Byrd says North Carolinians should remain on high alert, especially those along the coast -- but the storm is still too far out to determine its ultimate path.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued Thursday a mandatory evacuation order for all areas east of I-95 and other parts of the state's coast, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days, the National Hurricane Center's advisory says.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for the state ahead of the storm.

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Here are the latest developments:

-- Hurricane Irma has killed at least 10 people, officials said. Six died on the French side of the island of St. Martin and two others on St. Barthélemy, according to French officials. An infant in Barbuda also died in the storm, officials said.

-- Scott, Florida's governor, said Thursday he has directed state law enforcement to escort gas trucks to gas stations in an attempt to address reported fuel shortages. "We know fuel is very important" as people prepare to evacuate inland, he said. "While we're making progress, you will see lines and outages, unfortunately."

-- Barbuda, one of two major islands in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, took a major hit Wednesday, with about 95% of its buildings damaged, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

-- Browne described the damage as "unprecedented" and "absolutely devastating," estimating it will cost $100 million to rebuild.

-- Irma's eye passed directly over Barbuda on Wednesday, leaving the small island's 1,800 residents largely incommunicado after it knocked over the telecommunications system and cell towers.

-- Irma is one of three active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin -- the last time this happened was in 2010. Jose, in the open Atlantic far to the southeast of Irma, has become a hurricane, as has Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.

-- A hurricane warning is in effect for some areas in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hurricane or tropical storm conditions also are possible late this week in parts of Cuba.

-- Irma has maintained intensity above 180 mph longer than any storm in Atlantic basin history.

Turks and Caicos, Bahamas in Irma's path

Irma could be near the low-lying Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday night and parts of the Bahamas on Friday.

Storm surges could reach up to 20 feet, the National Hurricane Center says -- twice as high as some of the islands' elevations.

"Some of these Turks and Caicos (Islands) will be completely overwashed," CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.

The Turks and Caicos are a British overseas territory with about 35,000 people. Officials there are "working intensively on disaster preparedness and response ... (and) liaising with their counterparts in the Cayman Islands for assistance," UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Alan Duncan said Thursday.

The Bahamas, a nation of about 390,000, ordered evacuations for six southern islands -- Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.

"This is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country," Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said.

Will it hit Florida?

Some computer models show Irma could churn near Florida's southern and east coasts by early Sunday. Officials are ordering some evacuations and shutting down schools.

The tropical storm-force wind field from Irma stretches over 300 miles from end to end. If it were centered over New York City, the tropical storm-force winds would stretch from Baltimore to Boston.

Many spent Wednesday stocking up on food or making plans to head inland. Hurricane watches may be issued for parts of South Florida and the Keys on Thursday.

In Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale and other cities north of Miami, a mandatory evacuation will go into effect at noon Thursday for some areas, Mayor Barbara Sharief said.

Miami-Dade County ordered people out in some areas, including mobile homes and barrier islands.

Florida is not the only state preparing for possible impact.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency for all 100 counties, while his Georgia counterpart, Nathan Deal, issued a state of emergency for six coastal counties. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also declared a state of emergency.

Trail of destruction

Kelsey Nowakowski posted images to Instagram of the aftermath in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

"This doesn't look like it was ever a tropical paradise. It looks like an eerie fairy tale forest," she said in her post. "During the storm there were a handful of times when we thought we were losing the house's roof on the floor above, but when we emerged we found our roof intact."

Michael Coleman took shelter in a cement bunker in St. Thomas.

"The wind was so intense. Trees and roofs flying," he said.

He posted a video on Twitter showing mangled patio and roofing scattered all around.

In Puerto Rico, about 56,680 customers are without water, with the US territory's northeast hit the hardest, according to Jesus Poupart of the emergency operations center. Emergency officials are still taking in reports to determine the extent of the damage.

In the northeast city of Fajardo, authorities conducted at least 10 rescues, an emergency dispatcher there told CNN. Of those, five were from flooded homes, two of people trapped in vehicles, and three who were trapped in an elevator, the dispatcher said.

In San Juan, CNN's Leyla Santiago said 900,000 customers are without power after strong winds hit the island. There were no immediate reports of injuries in the US territory of about 3.4 million people.