What we know and don’t know about Hurricane Irma
As of Thursday midday, Irma is still a Category 5 hurricane with winds of about 175 mph. Irma is one of three active hurricanes in the Atlantic basin right now.
Where is the storm?
— Irma is off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. As of now, 24 provinces in the country are on red alert and 7,000 people are displaced
— The center of the storm will pass north of Hispaniola later Thursday
— Irma will be near the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas by Thursday evening. The Bahamas ordered evacuations for six of its southern islands:
- Crooked Island
- Long Cay
- Ragged Island
Destruction so far
— Irma ravaged Barbuda, St. Martin and the British Virgin Islands
— France’s Prime Minister revised the death toll after the storm, saying four people died on St. Martin. One person died on Barbuda and one on Anguilla
— Barbuda’s Prime Minister says the island is barely inhabitable — 95% of its buildings are damaged
— Puerto Rico was not directly impacted, but strong winds and torrential rains left hundreds of thousands without power and more than 56,000 without water
Florida under hurricane watch
— Florida is under a state of emergency, with impact from Irma expected by late Saturday with potential landfall on Sunday
— The National Hurricane Center issued hurricane watches for these parts of Florida:
- The Florida Keys
- Fort Lauderdale
- West Palm Beach
— 31,000 people have evacuated the Florida keys. So far, officials labeled these counties as evacuation zones:
- Palm Beach
— Florida’s Emergency Information Hotline number is: 1-800-342-3557
— 7,000 National Guard troops have been activated
— Florida Gov. Rick Scott is asking for 17,000 volunteers
Other states in Irma’s path prepare
— Georgia’s governor ordered a mandatory evacuation of people living east of Interstate 95 in his state, as well as all of Chatham County — which includes Savannah — and other low-lying areas in the path of the storm. He also declared a state of emergency for 30 counties that could be affected by Irma
— North Carolina and South Carolina are also getting ready. Both are under states of emergency.
Irma is a monster
— Hurricane Irma has maintained wind intensity above 185 mph longer than any other storm on record around the world — a total of 37 hours
— The storm’s cloud field is 300,000 square miles, which would cover the state of Texas.