The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever leaves thousands homeless; remains powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph
Debris and a boat washed up onto shore in Marigot, on the French Collectivity of Saint Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma. Pic/AFP
Fearsome Hurricane Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving at least 10 dead and thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees on a track yesterday that could lead to a catastrophic strike on Florida.
The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, Irma weakened only slightly yesterday morning and remained a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph (285 kph), according to the US National Hurricane Center. The storm was increasingly likely to rip into heavily populated South Florida early Sunday, prompting the governor to declare an emergency and officials to impose mandatory evacuation orders for parts of the Miami metro area and the Florida Keys. Forecasters said it could punish the entire Atlantic coast of Florida and rage on into Georgia and South Carolina.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told France Info radio that eight had died and 23 injured in the country's Caribbean island territories, and he said the toll on Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy could be higher because rescue teams have yet to finish their inspection of the islands.
In the United Kingdom, the government said Irma inflicted "severe and in places critical" damage to the British overseas territory of Anguilla. Irma blacked out much of Puerto Rico, raking the US territory with heavy wind and rain while staying just out to sea, and it headed early yesterday toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Hurricane Katia strengthens
Hurricane Katia strengthened on Wednesday before an expected turn towards land that could batter eastern states, US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Katia may be close to major hurricane strength by the time it hits land.
No. of people injured France's Carribean Island territories
Per cent of Barbuda's 1,400 residents left homeless
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