Irma is the kind of storm where you get thousands of lives lost. This is not going to be the big slow-motion flood like Harvey – this is a real, honest-to-God hurricane.
– Chuck Watson, disaster modeler with Enki Research
Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm on record according to the NHC, raced across northern Caribbean islands on Wednesday with a “catastrophic mix of fierce winds, surf and rain”, ahead of what appears a virtually guaranteed Florida landfall at the weekend. While Irma precise trajectory remained uncertain, the latest NHC forecast sees the cone coming right on top fo the panhandle.
— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) September 6, 2017
The eye of Irma, a Category 5 storm packing winds of 185 miles per hour (295 km per hour), moved away from the island of Barbuda and toward the island of St. Martin, east of Puerto Rico, early on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami reported. It could hit Florida on Saturday. It is expected to bring strong storm surges and up to 20 inches of rain in some places.