Hurricane Irma Causes At Least 3 Deaths in Caribbean as Southeastern States Brace for Storm’s Impact
Hurricane Irma lashed the Caribbean today, causing at least three deaths, while farther north in the U.S., Florida, Georgia and South Carolina are facing states of emergency as residents brace for the monster storm.
The storm — dubbed “extremely dangerous” by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) currently has sustained winds of 185 mph and even higher gusts.
On Wednesday afternoon, Irma was battering the Caribbean, destroying about 90 percent of the structures and vehicles on Barbuda, officials said.
In St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, at least two people died and at least two others were seriously wounded, according to a spokesperson for France’s ministry for its overseas territories.
At least one person died in Barbuda, where there is widespread damage, said Midcie Francis, a spokeswoman for Antigua & Barbuda’s National Office of Disaster Services.
Irma, which is approximately 450 miles wide, has had sustained winds of at least 180 mph for a longer period of time than any other Atlantic storm on record.
As of 5 p.m. ET, Irma was about 55 miles east of San Juan, Puerto Rico and moving west at about 16 mph. The hurricane is forecast to move north of U.S. territory this evening, unleashing strong winds and heavy rain.
Persistent heavy rain from Irma is expected to continue for hours and flash flood warnings have been issued across northeastern Puerto Rico, including San Juan.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for much of the central Bahamas, while a hurricane watch has been issued for much of the northwestern Bahamas.