Florida braces for dreaded Irma landfall

Powerful Hurricane Irma regained strength as it began approaching Florida. 170,000 South Florida homes are already without electricity early Sunday morning as strong winds, heavy rainfall and tornadoes were reported.
Irma in the Caribbean Photo Credit: CNN/Channe 2 News

South Florida was hit with strong winds and heavy rainfall early Sunday morning as Hurricane Irma continues to approach the area. Tornadoes have already been spotted near the coast. Millions of Floridians fled their homes over the past few days. So far, 170,000 South Florida homes and businesses have lost power. Extensive flooding throughout the state is expected over the next few days as Irma continues on its projected path north.

Irma regained strengthen early Sunday, returning to a Category 4 storm. “If you have been ordered to evacuate, you need to leave now,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said last night. “This is your last chance to make a good decision.”

Hurricane winds in Cuba Photo Credit: EPA

“The storm is here,” added Scott. “If you're in an evacuation zone you've got to get to a shelter or a place that's higher ground ... there's not many hours left.” On Saturday evening, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to call on Floridians to listen to Scott’s advice. “Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way, if possible,” Trump said in an earlier tweet.

As a Category 5 storm, Irma hit the Caribbean, leaving a massive trail of destruction and claiming the lives of 25 people. According to Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, the storm destroyed government buildings, ripped off the roofs of houses and left the islands without electricity and communication networks. He added that 95% of the buildings in Barbuda were flattened by Irma and about 60% of the residents are currently homeless. Last week, the UN warned that up to 37 million people could be affected by Hurricane Irma.



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