Hurricane Irma strengthens back into Category 5 storm

Hurricane Irma strengthens back into Category 5 storm

Hurricane Irma strengthens back into Category 5 storm

Irma is expected to hit Florida early Sunday, causing major damage due to high winds and flooding to the fourth-largest USA state by population.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the NHC said the eye of the storm was located about 120 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands, the easternmost in the chain of Caribbean Sea islands, with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph.

According to Florida's Division of Emergency Management some 5.6 million residents have been ordered to evacuate - almost a quarter of the state population.

"The storm is here", he said.

"This is a deadly storm".

Irma is continuing to hit the north coast of the country as it makes it way towards Florida. Eight to 12 feet of storm surge is possible in Southwest Florida between Captiva and Cape Sable, forecasters said.

"Now, we must think of the safety of our emergency operations staff and first responders and evacuate them out of harm's way". But Hurricane Irma, set to surge through the island chain overnight - potentially as a fierce Category 4 or 5 storm - may rival them yet.

High wind, tornadoes and heavy rainfall of up to 20 inches (0.5 meters) are forecast for most of Florida. Waves as high as 23 feet were recorded, and bigger ones remained a possibility as Irma plodded west, officials said.

At least 20 people are so far known to have died as Hurricane Irma progressed across the Caribbean throughout the week. Currently, there are 260 shelters open statewide, in every county and at least 70 more will open Saturday. About 390,000 live in the nation of islands.

Millions in Florida ordered to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma

A hurricane warning was put into effect Friday for Barbuda and Anguilla, St. Martin and St. Barts. The capital island of Grand Turk suffered "quite a bit of damage", including to part of a hospital's roof, Gov. John Freeman told CNN.

Irma has been hailed as one of the fiercest Atlantic storms of the century and is expected to hit Florida on Sunday morning.

"Where am I going to go?" said Kathleen Paca, 56, in a South Beach bar.

But the 1935 hurricane, with a surge that tore up tracks and overturned a train filled with evacuees, doomed the project financially. Jose's worst winds extend outward only 35 miles from its center, and tropical storm force winds extend 140 miles.

Miami began feeling some of Irma's winds on Saturday, with high-rise construction cranes sent spinning in circles. Irma may also curb natural gas demand in one of the largest USA markets and threaten $1.2 billion worth of crops.

A handful of hurricanes swept past the Keys in the 1970s and 1980s, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 also did some damage, hammering North Key Largo and knocking out power lines to the islands.

Hurricane warnings were still in place Saturday morning for Sint Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.

"Be patient, we're going to get you all out", Prime Minister Gaston Browne told residents.

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Dammit, Kristen Bell , why do you repeatedly make us adore you! "And thank you @ ewablueeyes for bother her when I asked you not to!" he added .

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