After Hurricane Harvey hit Houston – the fourth most populated city in the United States -, leaving a total of 51 casualties in around two weeks, Hurricane Irma is arriving in Florida on this weekend and becoming stronger since early Tuesday, with a maximum wind speed of 175 miles per hour.

The “extremely dangerous” Category 5 Hurricane began on early Tuesday toward the Greater Antilles. Now, it’s threatening to arrive in the northeastern Caribbean islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday afternoon, before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico while it potentially makes a landfall this weekend in Southern Florida.

Image Credit: NOAA
Image Credit: NOAA

According to NOAA Hurricane Hunters, this is one of the strongest hurricanes that has ever been recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Likewise, the hurricane center said that any storm is considered to form part of the Category 5 if its winds reach a velocity of 157 mph and Hurricane Irma sustained winds of 175 mph.

Helicopters and members of the Coast Guard are returning to their home stations after being present in Houston to help victims of the Hurricane Harvey, a Coast Guard spokesman said. That includes Florida home stations, whose guards are also preparing for Hurricane Irma.

On Monday, the Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, declared a state of emergency for the 67 counties of the state. Later that day, American Airlines announced that it had canceled Tuesday flights between Miami and Caribbean destinations.

“(He) offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma,” said Florida Gov. Scott in a statement, referring to the US President Donald Trump. “In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.”

It’s unsure where Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest ever, is going to end up

Hurricane Irma is considered one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Its velocity of winds (175 mph) is the same as Hurricanes David (1979), Andrew (1992), and Katrina (2005) which had a minimum pressure of 924, 922, and 902, respectively.

The storm is moving at about 14 miles per hour since 8 a.m. on Monday, 410 miles east of Leeward Islands. Meteorologists expect that Irma passes over Puerto Rico, the northern half of the Dominican Republic, and the Leeward Islands on late Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

The Caribbean islands, including Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Barts, are also going to be affected by Hurricane Irma, along with the British and United States Virgin Islands. The forecast assured that at least 10 inches of rain will drop over the Caribbean, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Irma's trajectory and relative wind speed. Image Credit: NOAA / NPR
Hurricane Irma’s trajectory and relative wind speed. Image Credit: NOAA / NPR

Hurricane Irma has intensified so much thanks to the warmest waters of the Caribbean. On Tuesday morning, The National Hurricane Center called Hurricane Irma an “extremely dangerous” storm, and that everyone living under Irma’s way has to take the necessary precautions.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Although Hurricane Irma will strike the United States’ coast on this weekend, experts are still unsure where it will end. Computer models show that Hurricane Irma is going to pass over Cuba and then turn north to Florida on this weekend.

Irma could move toward Florida and make landfall near Miami, or it could veer south of Cuba. Likewise, according to the meteorologists, both Carolinas and the Delmarva Peninsula, along with the East Coast, are still second options for Irma’s landfall.

Floridians must follow the necessary precautions

Although meteorologists are still a bit confused about where Irma is going to make its landfall, it is better for Florida citizens to take some preventive steps before this weekend. The state has not witnessed a Hurricane like this one since a long time ago.

“Everyone wants to see this at least meander away from the United States. The strength, the positioning, the timing of that troughs coming in to the eastern coastline will dictate exactly where Irma ends up,” CNN meteorologist and weather anchor Pedram Javaheri said.

People stock at a Home Depot in Palm Beach, Florida. Image Credit: West Palm TV
People stock at a Home Depot in Palm Beach, Florida. Image Credit: West Palm TV

People in Miami need to buy water and nonperishable food to cover up for, at least, a few days. Experts do not recommend to go out if Irma arrives Florida on this weekend. They say it’s better for the people to maintain themselves inside their homes.

“I’ve been through hurricanes and they’re like ‘Oh it’s going to hit right here’ and then it hits 30, 40 miles up the coast and it kind of changes the way everything goes so better safe than sorry,” Greg Andrews told CNN affiliate WPLG.

Source: CNN