The eye of hurricane IRMA passed over Bermuda at around 1.47 am (5.47 am BST). Heavy rain and howling winds raked the neighbouring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters (BST- British Summer Standard Time).
The hurricane was so strong that it appeared on seismometers, which are designed to measure earthquakes, and has the potential for coastal storm surges of up to 20 feet (six metres) above normal tide levels.
Bermuda Island enveloped within left-semicircle of Hurricane Irma eye. Pressure on island measured at 922.45 hPa.
Destruction seen on Barbuda. Photo courtesy of Lucas Adkins.
There would be a “major submersion of the low-lying parts of the coast”, with the towns of Marigot and Grand Case on the Franco-Dutch island of Saint-Martin and Gustavia in French Saint-Barthelemy to “be particularly impacted”.
Irma was the first time the Turks and Caicos islands had experienced a category 5 hurricane.
Irma is passing north of the Bahamas’ Great Inagua island, with wind speeds now of 160mph (260kph) – down from its 185mph peak but still a category five hurricane at 0600 UTC of 8th September.
It’s the first time since 2010 that three active hurricanes have been in the Atlantic.
Forecast Track issued on 7th September for Next 5 days.
By late Saturday, Irma hit Florida, where mandatory evacuation orders were already issued for Florida Keys and swaths of southern and coastal Florida. All hospitals in the Florida Keys archipelago were closed at 7am Friday, and coast guard and rescue services left.
Hurricane Jose of category 3 is not expected to make landfall, it’s quite possible it could add to the misery on Barbuda, which was devastated by Irma.
The National Hurricane Center on Thursday morning issued a hurricane watch for Antigua and Barbuda, exactly 24 hours after warnings expired for Irma. Such a watch means that hurricane conditions are possible, in about 48 hours.
Katia is expected to stick close to Mexico.
Some of the damage photographs:
Damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, the Dutch
section of the Caribbean Island: Gerben Van Es/AFP
The damage on the island of Saint-Martin: AFP/Getty Images
Latest forecast & warning Track of Typhoon IRMA issued by NOAA
Surface wind field of Hurricane Irma
Warning Track of Hurricane IRMA issued on 7th September