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Hurricane Irma ‘pummeling’ Turks and Caicos with powerful winds
Hurricane Irma ‘pummeling’ Turks and Caicos with powerful winds
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Hurricane Irma ‘pummeling’ Turks and Caicos with powerful winds
MARK OSBORNE, MORGAN WINSOR and JULIA JACOBO
Good Morning America
September 8, 2017
Hurricane Irma is currently "pummeling" Turks and Caicos with powerful winds, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory.
The record Category 5 storm, which skirted north of the Dominican Republic early Thursday as the powerful Category 5 storm, has set its sights on south Florida after leaving a trail of death and destruction in the Caribbean. At least 13 people have been killed.
Irma, dubbed the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, had maximum sustained winds of 175 mph on Thursday afternoon as it moved further away from the northern coast of Puerto Rico and over the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The wind speeds had dropped slightly from the day before, by about 10 mph.
"Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, but Irma is forecast to remain a powerful Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days," the National Hurricane Center said in its advisory.
As of 8 p.m. ET, Irma was about 55 miles west-southwest of Grand Turk Island, the capital of Turks and Caicos, moving at 16 mph as it raced toward the tiny tropical archipelago southeast of the Bahamas, where the storm is expected to hit Thursday night. Much of Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas could get 8 to 12 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in isolated spots through Saturday. A storm surge could bring water levels up to 20 feet above ground in Turks and Caicos.
A storm surge could also reach 5 feet on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic where Irma swept by on its way to Turks and Caicos.
Millions of children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are at risk, according to Save the Children organization.
“Deadly storms have a bias against children. Storms often leave a lasting impact on young minds. Relief efforts should prioritize children – their needs, their emotional well-being,” Unni Krishnan, director of Save the Children's emergency health unit, said in a statement Thursday.
A projection of the path Hurricane Irma will take as of 5 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. (ABC NEWS)A projection of the path Hurricane Irma will take as of 5 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. (ABC NEWS)
The National Hurricane Center projects Irma will be near the central Bahamas by Friday and then make landfall in south Florida, near Miami, on Sunday morning as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing high winds, abundant rainfall and potentially dangerous storm surge.
The latest track has the storm shifted slightly to the west, which puts the worse side of the storm over the east coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who declared a statewide emergency earlier this week, has warned that the "massive storm" could be more treacherous than Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the Sunshine State 25 years ago.
"I want everybody to understand the importance of this. This is bigger than Andrew," Scott said Wednesday in an interview from Tallahassee with ABC News' "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts.
"This could be worse."
At a press conference Thursday, Scott said Irma could bring "life threatening" damage to Florida and he urged residents on the state's east and west coast to be prepared to evacuate and to heed warnings from local officials, saying a storm surge could bring water levels up to 10 feet above ground.
"This could impact any part of our state," Scott told reporters. "We'll be doing evacuations, but everybody's got to listen."
Scott said he expects additional evacuation orders will be given once the storm gets closer.
Mandatory evacuations have already been ordered for parts of several Florida counties, including Brevard County, Broward County, Indian River County, Lee County, Martin County, Monroe County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, St. John's County. Most of the mandatory evacuation zones were issued for barrier islands, coastal areas and for those living in mobile homes.


 

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