Hurricane Irma Destroyed Nearly Every Building on the Island of Barbuda

Florida rushed to prepare for a possible direct hit on the Miami area by the Category 5 storm with potentially catastrophic 185 mph winds. Nearly every building on the island of Barbuda was damaged when the eye of the storm passed almost directly overhead early Wednesday and about 60 percent of the island's roughly 1,400 people were left homeless, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told The Associated Press. By late Wednesday, the center of the storm was about 85 miles (135 kilometers) north-northwest of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and heading west-northwest at 16 mph (26 kph). More than half the island of Puerto Rico was without power and nearly 50,000 without water, the U.S. territory's emergency management agency said. Fourteen hospitals were using generators after losing power, and trees and light poles were strewn across roads. Puerto Rico's public power company has cut back on staff and maintenance amid a decade-long economic crisis and the agency's director warned that some areas could be without power from four to six months because the infrastructure has already deteriorated so badly. 

Another concern was the 20 Superfund sites in Puerto Rico and the three in the U.S. Virgin islands, given that most were near the coast, she said. She said EPA officials in New Jersey were on standby to fly down after the hurricane passed through. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Irma's winds would fluctuate, but the storm would likely remain at Category 4 or 5 for the next day or two as it roars past just to the north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday, nears the Turks & Caicos and parts of the Bahamas by Thursday night and skirts Cuba on Friday night into Saturday. It will then likely head north toward Florida. Evacuations from high-risk areas were ordered throughout the path of the storm. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating six islands because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the "potentially catastrophic" wind, flooding and storm surge. People there would be flown to Nassau in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country's history. Also Wednesday, Tropical Storm Katia formed in the Gulf of Mexico off Mexico's coast and rapidly became a hurricane. It had sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph) and Mexico's government issued a hurricane watch for the coast of Veracruz state from Tuxpan to Laguna Verde. Katia was about 195 miles (315 kilometers) north-northeast of the city of Veracruz late Wednesday and was expected to drift toward the coast Thursday and Friday, the hurricane center said.Another tropical storm farther east in the Atlantic became a hurricane Wednesday evening. Hurricane Jose posed no immediate threat to land but meteorologists warned the storm's path could change. Jose's sustained winds had risen to 85 mph (140 kph) by late Wednesday and some strengthening was expected.

Charitable Foundation Winston Churchill collects money to provide necessary medical assistance and all medicines to support the population affected by Hurricane Irma. Donate

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