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Hurricane gains speed, strength as it approaches the Caribbean and Gulf Coast
Hurricane Irma was named the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean outside the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. With 185-mph winds, it is now a Category 5 hurricane, which is the most serious type of major hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale. Hurricane Harvey was named Category 4.
The storm made its first landfall on Barbuda in the Caribbean Sept. 6, moving over Saint Martin and hitting Antigua, as well. The storm is moving towards the south Florida coast, and it is expected to hit land within several days. In Key West, Fla., visitors were ordered to leave under mandatory evacuation, with residents expected to evacuate shortly after.
U.S. President Donald J. Trump declared states of emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Another hurricane may follow Irma. According to NPR, Tropical Storm Jose is expected to become a hurricane Sept. 6, following Irma’s path in the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean.
Stay tuned to SWS and NOAA for additional updates.