Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm and catastrophic damage is possible in the Florida Keys and southern Florida this weekend.
Irma is packing 175 mph winds as of 8 a.m. ET Tuesday and is expected to continue churning with deadly hurricane-force winds and a dangerous storm surge across a wide swath of the Caribbean this week before moving toward southern Florida.
Hurricane warnings are in effects for islands including the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where the governor Tuesday called the storm unprecedented as the island braces for Irma to hit.
The storm is expected to approach Florida Saturday night into Sunday early morning with winds near 150 mph.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency for every county to ensure that local governments have enough “time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this dangerous storm,” according to a statement from his office.
Scott said in the statement that Irma is a “life-threatening” storm and Florida “must be prepared.”
“In Florida, we always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Scott said, “and while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.”
— NOAAHurricaneHunters (@NOAA_HurrHunter) September 4, 2017
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