Irma downgraded to Category 4 hurricane, but still 'extremely dangerous'

How to Stay Safe During a Storm

The dead were spread across St. Martin and St. Barts, the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Barbuda. Photos and video circulating on social media showed major damage to the airport in Philipsburg and the coastal village of Marigot heavily flooded. Dutch marines who flew to St. Martin and two other Dutch islands hammered by Irma reported extensive damage but no deaths or injuries.

As of 8 a.m. EDT Sunday, the hurricane was centered about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east-southeast of Key West, Florida, and was moving north-northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

Irma would be the second powerful hurricane to thrash the United States and its territories in as many weeks. Fallen trees and power poles can isolate residential areas, and power outages in some areas can last for months.

Maximum sustained winds are near 185 miles per hour with higher gusts.

McMaster took tweeted out the statement, asking South Carolinians to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Forecasters also predict storm surges of up to 15 feet in southwestern Florida and rainfall up to 25 inches in the Keys.

President Donald Trump this week approved an emergency declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"The first thing I ask everybody to do is pray for us", Florida Governor Rick Scott told ABC News.

"We're bunkering down." Telemundo TV station WIPR in Puerto Rico showed long lines of shoppers stocking up on bottled water, flashlights, batteries, generators, food and other items. Florida has Superfund sites on both the east and west coasts. She said EPA officials in New Jersey were on standby to fly down after the hurricane passed through. Other Cape Verde hurricanes include Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

"It's gotten a little bit stronger and it's going to maintain that strength", Walsh said late Tuesday night."The storm is the size of Ohio". "It's going to be bad". The Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando airports shut down.

Review proper hurricane kit guidelines, brush up on storm evacuation zones and learn more about how storms form using our online hurricane guide at nbc-2.com. "It's insane", she said.

HURRICANE Irma has lashed the U.S. mainland with 130mph winds after leaving a trail of death and destruction in its wake in the Caribbean.

Hurricane Irma made landfall in Marco Island, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 miles per hour at 3:35 p.m. ET Sunday, the National Hurricane Center said. It will then likely head north toward Florida.

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There is a high rip current risk for the coast for Sunday.

"Hurricane Irma is a unsafe storm and its projected path could put SC in harm's way". Andrew pummeled south Florida 25 years ago and wiped out entire neighborhoods with ferocious winds.

"This system is so large that even as it's pulling away from Puerto Rico, they're still dealing with the effects", Durda said.

Irma is a "Cape Verde hurricane", meaning that it started near the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa and has moved across the Atlantic.

"This could easily be the most costly storm in US history, which is saying a lot considering what just happened two weeks ago", said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, alluding to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. "While the track is still uncertain, the time to prepare is now", the Weather Channel warned. He activated the emergency operation centre and urged residents to have three days' worth of food and water.

The State Department authorized voluntary evacuation of US diplomats and their families from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics said the entire Florida peninsula will be raked by Irma's right front quadrant - the part of a hurricane that usually brings the strongest winds, storm surge, rain and tornadoes.

The hurricane will blast the northern Caribbean with life-threatening flooding, damaging winds and rough surf over the next few days, Accuweather said.

"A Storm Surge Warning has been issued from Jupiter Inlet southward around the Florida peninsula to Bonita Beach, as well as for the Florida Keys", the NHC said.

Hurricane warnings are in effect for Haiti from the northern border with the Dominican Republic to Le Mole St. Nicholas; Southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara; Central Bahamas; and Northwestern Bahamas. "Because when it gets close, it's too late", McMaster said.

And another tropical storm farther east in the Atlantic was expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night.

All of Southwest Florida remains under a Hurricane Warning.

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