As Florida prepares for Hurricane Irma and Jose swirls in the ocean, Tropical Storm Katia popped up in the Gulf of Mexico to become the 11th named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm is forecast to pass just north of Puerto Rico tonight, and be just north of Cuba by Saturday. It is possible that Irma could move up the east coast or west coast of Florida, or even right through the state.
It's a storm so powerful that it damaged or destroyed more than 50 percent of the homes on the island of St. Croix.
"If you're told to evacuate, get out quickly", Scott said Wednesday morning.
Irma, which was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico, passed nearly directly over the island of Barbuda, according to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami.
The National Hurricane Center shifted Irma's projected path eastward Wednesday based on updated weather model predictions showing the Category 5 storm's eye hugging the Florida coast.
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They say in St Martin, government offices have been damaged and the island's French Prefect and 23 staff are taking shelter in a concrete-lined room.
The National Hurricane Center said Irma was maintaining Category 5 strength with sustained winds near 185 miles per hour and heading west-northwest on a path toward Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend. The British and U.S. Virgin Islands to the west are expected to get the same.
Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour at its core. That storm was the largest to hit the state and the costliest in U.S. history until hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello said that the "dangerousness of this system" has never been seen in Puerto Rico.
The declaration allows state emergency management officials to begin executing South Carolina's hurricane plan, McMaster said. "So Everything we have has been hatched up brought inside as best we can, these winds are pretty much unprecedented for us".