As Hurricane Irma continues on its path to Florida, it is sustaining record breaking winds as it leaves havoc in its wake. It has maintained 185 mph wind speeds for over 37 hours, making it the longest lasting tropical cyclone of that intensity in recorded world history. Irma is currently expected to hit southern Florida (for which a hurricane warning has officially been declared) by Saturday evening , but it is doing horrific damage in the Caribbean in the meantime.
According to reports, 60% of Puerto Rican homes are without power, but the fact that loss of life and structural damage has been significantly less than expected for Puerto Rico is a silver lining. However, 95% of the island of St. Martin has been destroyed, and half of the residents of Barbuda have been left homeless in the hurricane’s wake. While the full scope of the destruction is still being assessed, it will certainly be a long recovery for residents of these islands.
As states of emergency have been declared in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, it’s important to be prepared. Supplies like bottled water, bread, and other nonperishables are flying off the shelves, as well as preparatory items like sandbags. Over the next few days, evacuation orders will be announced (if they haven’t already), so it’s best to keep an eye on your local news. Risking a storm just isn’t worth it.
(Via The New York Times)