Irma’s a Category 5 Storm and She’s Wreaking Havoc

The Background 

Hurricane Irma plowed into the Caribbean yesterday with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph (which is almost 300 kph…eeks), hitting St. Barts, St. Martin, Antigua, and Barbuda before hammering Puerto Rico. So far, the Category 5 storm has been blamed for at least nine deaths, including six in St. Martin, two in St. Bart’s and an infant in Barbuda. It’s forced massive evacuations throughout the area; Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Irma was forcing “the largest such evacuation in the history of the country” and many areas in Florida have set mandatory evacuations that will go into effect today at noon. CNN

What Else You Need to Know

Irma is just one of three hurricanes swirling around the Atlantic Ocean right now. Southeast of Irma, Jose is picking up steam and Katia is currently making waves in the Gulf of Mexico. This marks the first time there have been three hurricanes in the Atlantic since 2010. So far, Irma is definitely the most dangerous, wreaking havoc on every island in its path — residents have called the damage “heart-wrenching” and “devastating” — but these other two storms could very well cause just as much destruction. (Geez, that’s not scary at all.) Hurricane centres and meteorologists are keeping a close eye on all three.

What’s Next?

The storm is expected to near the Dominican Republic and Haiti today, though only time will tell whether it’ll make contact. Then it will head towards the islands of Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas, before making its way to Florida.