Florida in terror as Irma closes in
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.”