At least nine people have lost their lives after Hurricane Irma made a landfall on Wednesday and caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean islands of Barbuda, Antigua, St. Martin, Anguilla, Nevis, and St. John.
Here are 10 things to know about Hurricane Irma:
1. Hurricane Irma has been marked as a Category 5 storm (huge strength) with maximum sustained winds exceeding 156 miles per hour.
2. It was in Aug 28 when Hurricane Irma developed from a tropical wave that developed off the West African coast. It began near the Cape Verde Islands on Aug 30.
3. Within 24 hours, Hurricane Irma became a Category 2 storm and by Sept 4 it strengthened to Category 4. On Sept 5, it became a huge Category 5 storm.
4. Hurricane Irma is the fourth hurricane to develop so far this year. It is the ninth named storm. Pertinently, the Northern Atlantic hurricane season starts on Jun 1 and continues till Nov. 30
5. According to World Vision, Hurricane Irma is “the strongest hurricane the National Hurricane Center has ever recorded in the Atlantic outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico”.
6. On Sept 6 (Wednesday), Hurricane Irma hit Barbuda, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
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7. Hurricane Irma is expected to reach the US by this weekend after making a landfall on Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Cuba.
8. As per the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma is being joined by two smaller hurricanes – Jose and Katia – both moving westward of the Atlantic Ocean.
9. The National Hurricane Center has predicted a storm surge of 7-11 feet.
10. State of emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico and Florida.
Pic: Representative image
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.