Hurricane Irma’s currently prompting mandatory evacuations in the Florida Keys, and the Category 5 storm (with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph) is due to strike the mainland U.S. by the weekend. The above Fox News footage — followed by more incredible videos below — shows Irma (after first making landfall in Barbuda) striking St. Martin, which took a direct hit that crumpled the “sturdiest buildings” on the Caribbean island. Fox News reports that the storm contained winds of 200 mph at landfall. The footage, which is difficult to witness, shows trees and street signs taking a battering.
Irma has already qualified as the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record. This storm has grown to the size of France and could be even worse than 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, as Florida Governor Rick Scott told ABC News. He also warned that the storm “sure looks like it’s gonna barrel right down the middle” of his state, and if these other clips are any indication of what’s to come, Floridians had best heed evacuation orders.
The following videos (from West Palm Beach NBC affiliate WPTV and BNO News) are equally — if not more — frightening than the above footage. The first clip shows high winds throwing debris around St. Martin while the wind howls. The second one shows extensive flooding and damage to structures and vehicles after Irma departed the island.