Miami skyline as outer bands of Irma reach southern Florida. Photo: 9 September 2017

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The outer bands of Irma have already reached Miami

Wind gusts near hurricane pressure are battering islands in Florida’s south as Hurricane Irma is because of hit the mainland within the coming hours.

Water ranges are already rising on the coast of the US state the place an enormous storm surge is anticipated.

Some 6.three million folks had been advised to evacuate, however the state governor mentioned on Saturday it was now too late to depart for anybody remaining.

At the least 24 folks have died after Irma earlier hit a number of Caribbean islands.

With most sustained winds of 120mph (193km/h), Irma hurricane has now weakened to a class three hurricane after making landfall in Cuba’s north-east late on Friday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says in its latest advisory at 03:00 GMT on Sunday.

However Irma is anticipated to strengthen and can stay a robust hurricane because it approaches Florida, the NHC says.

It warns “life-threatening storm surge” is anticipated within the Florida Keys – a sequence of small islands in Florida’s south – and in addition the west coast of Florida.

What is occurring in Florida?

Irma is predicted to hit the coast on Sunday morning, however the outer bands are already affecting the south of the state and central Miami is being lashed by heavy rain.

The Florida Keys have suffered some minor injury and are anticipated to bear the brunt of the storm within the coming hours.

The pinnacle of emergencies company Fema, Brock Lengthy, advised CNN there have been “no protected areas inside the Keys”.

“You set your life in your individual arms by not evacuating,” he added.

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Media captionWatch: The Floridians who will not depart

“In case you’re in an evacuation zone, you have to get to a shelter must get to a shelter… there’s not many hours left”, Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents.

“The winds are coming, there’s not gonna be loads of time now to have the ability to drive very far.”

Hundreds of individuals on the mainland are at the moment with out electrical energy.

The western Gulf coast is anticipated to be worst affected, with cities reminiscent of Tampa and St Petersburg within the path of the storm.

The Tampa Bay space, with a inhabitants of about three million, has not been hit by a serious hurricane since 1921.

Gov Scott mentioned storm surges in coastal areas might be as excessive as 15ft (four.6m), including that folks “can not survive this”.

He mentioned that storm surges in coastal areas might be as excessive as 12ft (three.7m), including that folks “can not survive this”.

Some 50,00zero folks have gone to shelters all through the state, the governor mentioned. Media studies say shelters in some areas have been filling up rapidly and a few folks have been turned away.

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Media captionWATCH: Hurricane Hunters fly over eye of storm to assist forecasters

Miami metropolis and Broward county have imposed curfews to assist clear the roads of visitors.

Which different areas have already been hit?

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Media captionRose Brooks, who survived the storm that decimated Barbuda, describes the chaos
  • Cuba: Officers have reported “important injury”, with out giving additional particulars, however mentioned there have been no confirmed casualties but, the AFP information company studies
  • St Martin and St Barthelemy: Six out of 10 houses on St Martin, an island shared between France and the Netherlands, now uninhabitable, French officers say. They mentioned 9 folks had died and 7 have been lacking within the French territories, whereas two are recognized to have died in Dutch Sint Maarten
  • Turks and Caicos Islands: Widespread injury, though extent unclear
  • Barbuda: The small island is alleged to be “barely liveable”, with 95% of the buildings broken. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne estimates reconstruction will price $100m (£80m). One dying has been confirmed
  • Anguilla: In depth injury with one particular person confirmed lifeless
  • Puerto Rico: Greater than 6,00zero residents of the US territory are in shelters and plenty of extra with out energy. At the least three folks have died
  • British Virgin Islands:Widespread damage reported, and 5 lifeless
  • US Virgin Islands: Injury to infrastructure was mentioned to be widespread, with 4 deaths confirmed
  • Haiti and the Dominican Republic: Each battered by the storm, however neither had as a lot injury as initially feared

What about Hurricanes Jose and Katia?

One other storm, Jose, additional out within the Atlantic behind Irma, is now a category four hurricane, with winds of as much as 145mph.

It’s following the same path to Irma and already hampering reduction efforts in a number of the worst affected areas.

Residents of Barbuda, left the island as Jose approached however it’s now not anticipated to hit.

Nonetheless, hurricane warnings are in place for St Martin and St Barthelemy, each additionally hit by Irma.

Hurricane Katia, within the Gulf of Mexico, a class one storm with winds of as much as 75mph, made landfall on the Mexican Gulf coast within the state of Veracruz late on Friday.

It has now weakened to a tropical despair.


Are you within the area? Are you a holidaymaker unable to get a flight house or a resident who has been getting ready for Hurricane Irma? Whether it is protected for you to take action, share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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