Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean island of Barbuda

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Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean island of Barbuda

Preparations are well underway in the Caribbean Islands and the United States as extremely dangerous Hurricane Irma churns closer to land.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Irma became a Category 5 storm shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 5. The powerful storm has maximum sustained winds of 185 mph.

Irma is the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Matthew in October 2016. With maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, it’s the strongest hurricane since Wilma in 2005.

The NHC also said Irma became the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in recorded history.

“Preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area,” the hurricane center said, calling Irma an “extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a statewide state of emergency on Monday night to ensure “local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez said all county offices would be closed on Thursday and Friday, and he urged residents to bring enough supplies to last three days. Miami-Dade County schools have also been canceled on Thursday and Friday.

 Updated: September 6, 2017

Source: News agencies