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The Strongest Hurricane in the Atlantic

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Coral Aman, Staff Writer

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Hurricane Irma began developing in the Atlantic during the first week of September. This storm produced winds up to 185 mph and was one of the strongest hurricanes to ever be recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. On Tuesday, September 5th, the storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane and left behind a path of destruction through much of the Caribbean.

On Wednesday, September 6th, Irma hit the Leeward Islands, which are located to the east of the Virgin Islands.  Places such as Antigua and Barbuda experienced heavy rain, strong winds, and most buildings were damaged. Wednesday afternoon, the storm passed by Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Most of Puerto Rico was left without power, and many houses and buildings were damaged in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. The hospital located on St. Thomas was left in ruins, harbors have been destroyed, and there are almost no leaves left on any trees. Other islands in the northern Caribbean also experienced the effects of this hurricane. For example, the island of St. Martin experienced flooding and and damage to an airport. Irma has resulted in more than 30 deaths in the Caribbean, hundreds of injuries, and has destroyed thousands of homes and buildings.

A state of emergency was issued early on for Florida, and tourists and residents quickly left the coastal regions. Over 25,000 people evacuated the Florida Keys. Residents who stayed prepared for the storm by stocking up on water and food, and over 160,000 took safety in shelters. People with friends and family in Florida also expressed concern. When Meghann Kaczynski, junior, was asked about her thoughts regarding Irma, she replied, “my grandma lives in Florida, and I’m nervous because this is the first hurricane she will experience, and I don’t think she is really prepared for it.”

On Sunday, September 10th, Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm was 400 miles wide with 130 mph winds. Once the storm reached land, Irma quickly downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane. The hurricane made its way up the west coast of Florida but affected the entire state. Places in southern Florida, such as Miami, Tampa, and Fort Myers were hit hard. There was a 10 foot storm surge and millions of people lost power. Homes and boats were destroyed and major flooding occurred. Furniture, appliances, and boats were seen floating down streets. The hurricane also brought heavy rain and strong winds to Georgia and South Carolina, killing at least three. As of September 12, Irma was pronounced a post-tropical cyclone and is expected to bring rain to Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Carolinas over the next day or so.

In the U.S. alone, Irma has killed at least eleven people and 6.7 million people are without power in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. The death toll in the Caribbean has risen to almost 40. Some islands, such as St. John, are not expected to have power until January or later. Thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses. Irma was a massive hurricane that caused large amounts of destruction in multiple places, and millions of people are depending on the world to work together and help them recover.

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The Official Student News of Green Hope High School
The Strongest Hurricane in the Atlantic