Recently, the most powerful hurricane since scientists started to record such phenomena, named Hurricane Irma, has hit the Caribbean. It devastated the entire region, killing at least 10 people. Florida is currently placed on high alert, having ordered evacuations. Meanwhile, Georgia and the Carolinas declared an emergency state.
Hurricane Irma is a Category 5 storm. The maximum speed reached by the winds was 185 mph, according to the information given by the US National Hurricane Center. The island territories belonging to France have reported at least 8 people who have lost their lives. There were various images released, showing the devastation produced by floodwater and the wind to the Saint Martin island, for instance.
The hurricane followed a path through Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles, going to Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. People who live in Florida are currently preparing for another hit to take place in the weekend. The eye of the hurricane passed straight over Barbuda. This translates to winds that were twice as fast for the inhabitants here.
Haiti Prepares for the Storm
Emergency aid teams have been sent to the coastal areas of Haiti. This measure was taken as a preparation for the worst part of the storm. Currently, they are helping people evacuate the areas, leading them to safety. The Christian Aid charity has issued a warning regarding the vulnerable communities found all throughout the Dominican Republic and Haiti. They added that even the well-built homes might get wiped out by the strongest hurricane we have ever witnessed.
Prospery Raymond, who is the country director of the group, declared that their partners are trying their best to evacuate as many people as they can. The hardest part is finding a safe shelter. The good news is that the team has built in the NE of Haiti over 160 hurricane-resistant houses. Once again we see proofs of humanity coming from regular people, as various families offered to host evacuated people. Sadly, nobody can guarantee that even the well-built houses will resist the storm.
A Constant Search for Safe Places
In their quest of finding safe places for people, the authorities help them move to churches and schools. However, in some areas, such as the NW of Haiti, not all the buildings are going to last the incredible force. Consequently, these people will have to move further away in safer locations in neighboring cities.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is currently trying to clean up the mess left behind by Hurricane Irma. The Caribbean territory went through a close shot with the storm. The island wasn’t hit directly, but it still had to endure extreme rain and wind conditions. For the moment, the authorities believe half of the population was left without power.
Donald Trump’s Response
Donald Trump showed that he was awake even from the first hours of the day. As it is already a tradition for him, he took to Twitter to express his thoughts. He said that Hurricane Irma is currently raging, but the country has plenty of teams with ‘talented and brave people’. He ended his message by advising people to be careful and to be safe under these circumstances.
High Traffic in South Florida
Currently, there is a high volume of traffic as the people in south Florida are going away. They are heading north on Florida’s Turnpike. The Florida Highway Patrol has assigned people to watch the traffic and make sure there aren’t any accidents. They issued a news release on Thursday and said that they brought extra wreckers, road rangers, and extra troopers to be on the roadways and help drivers with disabled vehicles.
According to the agency, the authorities are going to tow the vehicles they find left on the highways. They will impose this measure starting with Thursday morning. The reason for this is to make things easier for the emergency workers who try to get to crash victims. Turnpike officials also announced that they will install cameras on the road with the purpose of monitoring the conditions.
What about French Measures?
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, declared that he plans to visit the Caribbean territories belonging to France as soon as the weather allows him to. Irma affected badly the Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin islands. Journalists reported at least eight people and 23 others wounded. However, the searches continue, so it’s possible that the toll rises.
Gerard Collomb, the interior minister in France, said that they have sent to the islands 100,000 food rations, which should be enough for four days. He declared for the reporters that this is a true tragedy and that the country will have to rebuild both territories. He also added that the hurricane destroyed most of the buildings where they had schools.
The Most Expensive Storm
According to a Florida researcher, Hurricane Irma might be the most expensive storm in the entire US history. The hurricane, which is a Category 5 one, is currently heading to the SE state. The authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders in the areas Florida Keys and Miami. Georgia and the Carolinas are preparing for some major hurricane impacts, as the authorities have warned.
Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher working at the University of Miami, said that this is the most costly storm the US has ever faced. This means something, considering the other hurricane that took place two weeks ago. Consequently, Greg Abbott, the Texas Governor, and various risk management companies estimated the cost to be somewhere into the tens of billions of dollars.
All in all, Hurricane Irma is the strongest storm in the history of hurricanes ever recorded. Up until now, it has hit various islands in the Caribbean. The number of victims is relatively small for now, but the searches continue, with many people who have gone missing. The hurricane did terrible damage, destroying hundreds of buildings, including schools, hospitals, churches, etc. The US National Hurricane Center has issued a forecast for the following days. Apparently, the winds will slightly fluctuate, but hurricane will still be a Category 4 or 5 one for the following 1-2 days.
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