Floridians think they're prepared for Irma. They're wrong, and here's why
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Hurricane Irma has destroyed two Caribbean islands, and claimed at least ten lives. Now, the storm is headed towards Florida where it will strike with a fury never seen before, even in a state long accustomed to powerful storms. Florida residents are advised take heed. Irma is a powerful killer, and it will surprise millions of people with its ferocity.
Hurricane Irma is so large, it filled the window of the International Space Station.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- For anyone in the path of Hurricane Irma, a warning: do not underestimate this storm. The experienced storm riders of Florida probably feel they're prepared for what's coming. They're not.
Hurricane Andrew provides the closest comparison for what to expect, but Irma is on track to be even worse. That's because Andrew skirted the southern tip of the state, but Irma may move right up the middle. Hurricane Hugo, which was also powerful, never made landfall in Florida. Irma is also more powerful than both Andrew and Hugo. Survivors of these storms should not assume their experience with Irma will be the same.
Hurricane Irma destroyed the islands of Barbuda and St. Martin yesterday, and at least ten people are dead. More than 90 percent of the buildings on both islands are destroyed and uninhabitable. Over sixty percent of the people on both islands are now homeless. There is no water or electricity, and this condition may persist for weeks.
Irma passed just north of Puerto Rico last night, and reports from the island are just now coming in. Two people died in advance of the storm's arrival due to harsh weather.
Hurricane Irma has scattered anchored and tethered boats like toys, capsizing some and sinking others.
Presently, Irma is spinning off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic and is within hours of impacting Haiti where living conditions are poor. Because of the storm's track away from the island, Haiti may be spared the worst.
However, Turks and Caicos Islands will be devastated within the next 24 hours. The Bahamas are in the path of the storm. After that, Miami.
All of Florida will be affected by the storm to some extent. While Irma may track up the center of the state, it does appear to be drifting eastward. This is good news for the west coast of Florida. But Miami should take a direct hit. Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral may also be hit. NASA is taking precautions.
Irma tossed cars around like toys on St. Martin. It may strike Miami with the same force.
After ravaging Florida, the storm will impact Georgia and the Carolinas. It will still be rated as a hurricane. Officials in those areas are now making advanced preparations to safeguard their people. Water is already sold out in many places between Georgia and the Carolinas. The storm will blow itself out over Virginia and Maryland, disrupting the Washington D.C. area by Wednesday and Thursday of next week. From there, it should blow out to sea where it will create dangerous conditions for mariners.
The worst is yet to come. The next few days will see legendary destruction that will be remembered for a century or more. If we are lucky, the storm track will shift far enough east it stays out to sea, in which case we will be spared. However, this is unlikely.
Anyone in the path of this storm, should move out of the way, if possible. Otherwise, prepare for the worst, and pray it passes swiftly.
Behind Irma is Hurricane Jose, which is expected to turn north in the days to come. A small blessing, the U.S. will not be affected by Jose.
Entire towns have been destroyed and ten people are dead. The death toll is expected to rise.
There is a chance Florida will be spared the worst, if Irma tracks east. But for now, millions of people are in a greater danger than they have ever faced.
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