As Texans continue with significant recovery efforts following the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, a new tropical storm, Hurricane Irma, has surged to category five as it speeds towards the Caribean and Florida.
As of this moment, Irma is swirling roughly 400 miles to the east of the Leeward Islands and is moving west at 14 miles per hour.
In preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, emergency services, and Coast Guard crews which are currently engaged in major rescue operations in Texas have been redeployed to their home bases and placed on standby.
An expert meteorologist, Evan Myers, has offered some useful preparatory tips for residents along the eastern coast of America, urging people to get ready for worst case scenarios.
“As we saw just 10 days ago with Harvey, it is important to be ready to evacuate.”
Myers said members of the public should create a list of items that can be gathered in thirty minutes, one hour, six hours or a day, depending on the possible length of time one would have following evacuation orders.
Additionally, Myers strongly recommends having medicine prescriptions filled and says to collect valuable documentation, including insurance certificates, bill of sales, contracts, address books, IRS documents, social security registrations, and other important documents to take along in case of an evacuation.
It is also important for possible evacuees to decide where they will take their families and pets. Click here to find out how to care for pets during a hurricane.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has warned locals that Irma – with current winds up to 175 miles per hour – is on course to make landfall in Florida by the coming weekend. Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s counties; saying that the approaching hurricane is a “life-threatening storm.”
“Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm, and Florida must be prepared.”
Mr. Scott also took to Twitter to assure those concerned that President Donald Trump has made the federal government’s full resources available to Floridians who are bracing for Hurricane Irma’s landfall.
The National Weather Service has issued a public advisory to warn areas directly in Hurricane Irma’s path to get ready for impact. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are expected to be hit first, followed by a possible northward swerve towards Florida or a southward turn toward Cuba.
Hurricane warnings have been issued for the Caribbean islands of Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Barts, as well as both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. The south of Florida is most likely the next country in its projected path.
Chuck Caracozza from the National Weather Service in Miami said, “For people in South Florida, now is the time to start preparing and getting those hurricane kits in order.”
Meteorologists at AccuWeather have suggested that not only Florida but also Georgia and the Carolinas could be within the path of Irma.
In another scenario, Irma could change course in a northerly direction that would see the hurricane completely miss the East Coast.
Below is a visual representation created by TIME of Hurricane Irma’s path.
According to the New York Times, experts have warned that Irma will likely bring heavy rains, which will lead to severe flooding and possibly even dangerous landslides.
Meanwhile, American Airlines has canceled all flights between Miami and destinations in the Caribbean Islands as a precautionary measure.
[Featured Image by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/AP Images]