Florida in ter­ror as Irma closes in

Sunday Territorian - - WORLD -

c MIL­LIONS of Florid­i­ans are tbraced for Hurricane Irma, one of the big­gest storms in his­tory that will sav­age Amer­ica’s south­east for days af­ter churn­ing a deadly path through the Caribbean.

In one of the largest mass evac­u­a­tions ever un­der­taken, more than 5.6 mil­lion Amer­i­cans have been or­dered from their homes, with po­lice yes­ter­day go­ing door to door and warn­ing over loud­speak­ers that any­one who stayed was c“on their own”. e Irma is fore­cast to smash into Mi­ami as a cat­e­gory 4 early Sun­day morn­ing lo­cal time but, even be­fore the hurricane strikes, huge storm surges of up to 3.6m are pre­dicted to mover­whelm hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of coast­line, home to 6 mil­lion peo­ple.

And a new dan­ger lay on the hori­zon to the east: Hurricane Jose, a cat­e­gory 4 storm with 240kmh winds that could pun­ish some of the dev­as­tated ar­eas aall over again this week­end.

The mon­ster storm has al­ready killed 23 and bat­tered Caribbean is­lands, leav­ing just 5 per cent of the once idyl­lic Bar­buda’s build­ings stand­ing.

Yes­ter­day it bar­relled be­tween the Ba­hamas and Cuba, lash­ing their coast­lines and gather­ing in strength to re­turn to the high­est storm cat­e­gory, af­ter weak­en­ing slightly to a cat­e­gory 4 on Thurs­day. Irma will bring sus­tained winds of more than 250kmh, which would eas­ily be ca­pa­ble of de­stroy­ing build­ings, rip­ping up roads, top­pling power lines and crip­pling in­fra­struc­ture.

Fuel is scarce as mil­lions clogged high­ways. Su­per­martkets have been bled dry of non­per­ish­able food and water.

“It’s been crazy in here the past cou­ple days,” said cashier An­dria Franklin, a life­long Or­lando res­i­dent. t “Usu­ally, peo­ple here don’t pay much at­ten­tion to hur­ri­canes be­cause they hap­pen a lot. But peo­ple were scared by what hap­pened in Hous­ton aand so they seem to be tak­ing this one a lot more se­ri­ously.”

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