Friday, February 28, 2020
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Irma, a Cat. 5, wipes out Antigua, Barbuda; Fla. in path

Hundreds of schools have been closed. Nearly all of some islands in the Caribbean have been completely destroyed. Thousands and more are homeless, without power, without communication, without drinkable water, and without much of anything after Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 monster, brought wind speeds as high as 185 mph for over 24 hours to the surface of this planet, the longest-enduring Category 5 storm ever recorded.


VIIRS infrared, Irma at 1:35 AM EDT Sept. 6. Barbuda is in the eye (UW-Madison/CIMSS)

Most forecasting models say Irma will make landfall on the south coast of Florida on Saturday afternoon. President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency and has promised to help Gov Rick Scott of Florida as much as possible.

The government of Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola, has closed all institutions, including banks and stores, beginning at noon today and continuing until further notice. President Jovenel Moïse said in a televised speech that his cabinet had spent a week preparing for the hurricane. Emergency crews, though, were expected to have great difficulty rescuing people, given that 77 percent of the country is mountainous and much of it’s inaccessible by road, he said.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda said that half of Barbuda had been left homeless. Officials declared a state of emergency there. In addition, more than 70 percent of households in the US territory of Puerto Rico were without power, and on St Martin, an official said 95 percent of the island was destroyed.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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