Posted by Kyle Brookings on Friday, September 8, 2017
Hurricane Irma is an extremely powerful tropical cyclone affecting the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, and threatening Cuba and the Southeastern United States.
On September 4, Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency.
In Antigua and Barbuda, residents safeguarded their homes and cleaned up their properties in anticipation of strong winds. Emergency crews were put on standby at public shelters and hospitals by September 5 to assist with any evacuations.
After taking a direct hit, more than half of residents on Barbuda took shelter, and relief supplies were preemptively mobilized.
On Guadeloupe, low-lying and cliff-edge homes were evacuated at the threat of flooding and erosion. Schools and public businesses closed on September 5 and 6.
Of the island's 32 municipalities, 22 activated their emergency plans; 1,500 people were urged to take shelter.
On September 4, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Florida, and placed 100 members of the Florida National Guard on duty to assist in preparations. All 7,000 troops are to be on duty by September 8. Officials advised residents to stock their hurricane kits.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for six coastal counties on September 6, 2017; however, the state of emergency was later expanded to cover 30 counties in southeast and east central Georgia, and Governor Deal ordered mandatory evacuations for all areas east of Interstate 95 on September 7.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on September 6, 2017.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency on September 6.
Irma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Wilma of 2005 in terms of maximum sustained winds, the most intense in terms of pressure since Dean in 2007, and the first of such intensity to make landfall anywhere in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007. Irma is also the first Category 5 hurricane to affect the northern Leeward Islands on record.