Monster Storm Hurricane Irma Hurtling Towards USA

Hurricane Irma is barrelling towards the United States coastline, causing considerable damage over the Caribbean islands along the way. Residents in Florida’s Key West area – where many South African expats live – have been ordered to evacuate as the monster storm is expected to make landfall on the mainland by the weekend.

The French overseas affairs minister has confirmed that two people have died, and another two are seriously injured, following the Category Five storm’s impact on the French island territories of St Martin and St Barts in the Caribbean. (Category 5 is the highest level a storm can be measured at.)

The storm is reportedly the most powerful in a decade, registering wind speeds of 295km/hr.

In the last half hour the US National Hurricane Center advised that Hurricane Irma is moving away from the northernmost Virgin Islands, and spreading over Puerto Rico. It is also expected to hit the Dominican Republic on Thursday, as well as the Bahamas and Cuba.

Airports have shut down on many of the islands – the airport at St Martin has been destroyed – while in Florida, extra flights have been added for those leaving the state, although some passengers have taken to social media to complain that airlines are cashing in on the disaster and charging sometimes 600% more than normal on ticket prices.

A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in the United States, as locals prepare for the storm.

The Most Recent Hurricane Irma Update at the time of publishing this article (23h45 SA Time):

Residents in Florida Keys, USA, have been given a mandatory evacuation order:

Watch Hurricane Irma Updates Live