Saturday, 9 September 2017

Hurricane Irma approaches Florida as 5.6 million told to 'go now'

Around 5.6 million Florida residents have been ordered to evacuate the state as Hurricane Irma gets closer.

The category four storm has already moved through the Caribbean and the British Virgin Islands, killing at least 22 people and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

America's National Hurricane Centre said on Saturday that Irma had maximum sustained wind speeds of 130mph.

Damaging winds from its outer bands were already arriving in South Florida, meteorologists said.

It is expected to hit near Key West early on Sunday, and the entire state could feel its effects.

Its path could also take in Georgia and South Carolina.

Forecasters adjusted the storm's potential path more towards the west coast of Florida - away from the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people.

That means "a less costly, a less deadly storm," University of Miami researcher Brian McNoldy said.

However, it is being warned that the strong winds are so wide they could reach from coast to coast.

"This is a storm that will kill you if you don't get out of the way," National Hurricane Centre meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said.

"Everybody's going to feel this one."

"If you are planning to leave and do not leave tonight, you will have to ride out this extremely dangerous storm at your own risk," Florida governor Rick Scott said.

"We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now. This is a catastrophic storm like our state has never seen."

SKY       News.

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