Less than 2 weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, and before the flooding has even ended, the United States is bracing for the impact of another “storm of the century.” Hundreds of thousands of people are currently living within evacuation areas.
Currently, Irma is registering as a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 175, and gusts even higher than that. Category 5 hurricanes must have winds of 157 mph or more. There is no such thing as a category 6.
Irma has been devastating the Caribbean islands. According to the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, more than 60% of Barbuda’s residents are now homeless due to the destruction from the hurricane.
Evacuation orders were issued on Tuesday in Florida, and Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency. Now, even more of the state is under a mandatory evacuation order, including the Florida Keys which is already getting increased wind and rain from the storm. The entire Florida National Guard will be called to report for duty on Friday.
While Florida is expected to be hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma, other states including Georgia and South Carolina are also in the path the storm is expected to take. Based off of current predictions, Irma will make landfall in Florida at some point on Saturday, and continue to batter the coast through Monday before diminishing over Tennessee and Kentucky some time on Tuesday. It’s important to note however that while this information comes from the National Hurricane Center, these are only predictions, and the storm can change at a moment’s notice.
Much of coastal Georgia, including the city of Savannah, has received mandatory evacuation orders.
Some people will likely disobey evacuation orders, but Gov. Scott cautioned people to get out as soon as possible, saying “we cannot save you once the storm hits.”
Some of those that are trying to leave have been finding it difficult to get out as traffic jams and gas shortages have already begun.
Stay safe and stay dry, drivers.