Just days after the wrath of Hurricane Harvey that devastated Houston with its record rainfall, the United States and Puerto Rico brace for Hurricane Irma. Picking up strength across the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Irma has already been classified a category 4 storm. Both Florida and Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency on Monday.
Hurricane Irma Path Uncertain
It’s still too early to predict where Hurricane Irma will unleash the most damage, but the possibility of it threatening the United States is high. Florida Governor, Rick Scott, was quick to declare an emergency state in all 67 counties of Florida. He said in a statement late Monday: “In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best… we cannot afford to not be prepared.”
The governor has also spoken to President Donald Trump, who is said to have offered the “full resources” of the federal government for Florida.
Puerto Rico Standing By
Puerto Rico governor, Ricardo Rosselló, also declared a state of emergency over Hurricane Irma on Monday, activating the National Guard. The National Hurricane Center has also now issued a hurricane warning for the Caribbean island.
There will be no school or university on Tuesday and the public has been warned that the worst of the impact could be felt around midday on Wednesday. So far, Hurricane Irma remains gathering force in the ocean with winds of up to 140 miles per hour. It is expected to make landfall on Wednesday morning on the Anguilla island.
After Hurricane Irma rips through the Caribbean, computer models predict that it will head north towards the United States. There is a possibility that will turn sooner and spin back out to the ocean, but experts are not hopeful. CNN weather anchor and meteorologist, Tom Sater, said “It definitely looks like we will be impacted by a major hurricane that is a Category 3, 4 or 5.”
Life Threatening Conditions
Hurricane Irma is expected to cause swells and rip currents that are “life-threatening” according to the Hurricane Center. In addition to Puerto Rico, many other Caribbean islands are preparing for the worst, including St. Kitts, Barbuda, Antigua and St. Barts.
“A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area,” the Hurricane Center said. “A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds.”
Hurricane Irma is expected to gether in strength as it reaches warmer water, intensifying the potential damage it causes. It will be monitored closely over the next few days in order to preserve as many lives and prevent as much damage as possible.
Florida Gets Prepared
There is still a chance that Hurricane Irma does not materialize into a threat for the United States and the Hurricane Center has not issued any warnings so far, despite the emergency state. Furthermore, should Irma make landfall in the United States, it is likely not to be until the beginning of next week.
However, Governor Scott has still urged Florida residents to brace themselves and get their disaster supply kits ready, saying that being prepared should be “a priority for every Florida family.”
Why is Hurricane Irma Such a Threat?
According to experts, Hurricane Irma is a classic “Cape Verde hurricane.” This means that it is a hurricane that forms in the far east of the Atlantic, near the Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) Islands. It then tracks all the way across the Atlantic, giving it time to pick up maximum speed and strength.
Typically, Cape Verde storms are the most intense and the largest types of hurricanes we see, and include Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Hugo.
After the recent devastation in Texas, all eyes in the Florida state will be nervously tracking Irma’s progress and praying to be spared.