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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma, Florida and Puerto Rico brace for storm

Hurricane Irma, which has strengthened to a Category 4 storm, is expected to slam the Caribbean and possibly the US
mainland this week.

The increasingly menacing storm would continue churning west in the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday and meteorologists say Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands could begin to see its wrath by the end of the day, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 5 a.m. ET, the "dangerous major hurricane," was about 320 miles (515 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands, the National Hurricane Center said. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (240 kph) as it heads west at 14 mph (22 kph).
Landfall is expected early Wednesday on the island of Anguilla, the hurricane center said.
Computer models show the system swirling toward the Caribbean, and by the end of the week, it will turn right toward the north, said CNN meteorologist and weather anchor Pedram Javaheri.

While Irma's exact path is still uncertain, several islands in the Caribbean, as well as Florida, are bracing for the storm.
After declaring a state of emergency all across Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said President Donald Trump had "offered the full resources of the federal government as Floridians prepare for Hurricane Irma."
"In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best, and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared," Scott said in a statement.

Puerto Rico

Hundreds of people rushed to the stores, emptying shelves of food and drinking water just as the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló, declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.
For hours, people also lined up outside hardware stores hoping to get plywood, batteries and power generators. If Irma knocks out power, Puerto Ricans said they are worried it would take weeks or months before the power is restored.

"It (power) is something absolutely necessary, especially due to Puerto Rico's weather. We need to have the A/C or a fan on all night," a woman told CNN affiliate WAPA.
Last month, the director of Puerto Rico's power utility Ricardo Ramos Rodríguez, said several factors have made the island's electric system "vulnerable and fragile," WAPA reported.
One of those factors is the shortage of employees. Many workers recently retired or left their jobs for better prospects in the US mainland, Ramos Rodríguez said.
Public schools and officials at the University of Puerto Rico campuses have canceled classes, and many businesses remain closed.

Puerto Rico and a string of Caribbean islands are under hurricane warnings, including the British and US Virgin Islands, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Martin/Sint Maarten and St. Barts, the hurricane center said.
Read: Hurricane Irma could be next weather disaster
The warnings are usually issued for areas that could see "tropical-storm-force winds" of up to 140 mph in about 36 hours after the alert goes into effect.
"Make a U-turn and die in the ocean, Irma. The Caribbean islands don't need more problems!," Twitter user Mujer tropical wrote about the storm.

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