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Irma sets her eyes on Cuba and the Bahamas

Cuba and the Bahamas are currently in Irma’s sights after it tore through the Turks and Caicos Islands and left at least 24 dead throughout the Caribbean.

The category four storm scraped over Cuba’s north coast on Friday and is expected to stay in the area into Saturday before making its way into the central Bahamas. 

Irma has so far left in its wake a ravaged string of Caribbean resort islands strewn with splintered umber, corrugated metal and broken concrete. 

It is still a category four storm, having dipped in intensity, but will still likely cause widespread devastation throughout Cuba and the Bahamas. Wind speeds are currently at 155 mph.  

So far there are at least 24 people dead as a result of the storm, including nine in unspecified French territories, one in Barbuda, one in Anguilla, two in St Maarten, four in the British Virgin Islands, four in the US Virgin Islands, and three and Puerto Rico. 

Irma is expected to strengthen into a category five storm again before slamming into the Florida Keys later this weekend. 

As it advances towards south Florida, the state has so far asked 5.6 million people to evacuate – more than a quarter of the state’s population.  

‘This is a storm that will kill you if you don’t get out of the way,’ said National Hurricane Center meteorologist and spokesman Dennis Feltgen.  

 

A satellite image shows Hurricane Irma  driving over Cuba and the Bahamas and towards southern Florida, leaving death and destruction in its wake in the Caribbean 

Stormy weather and waves are seen in Nassau, Bahamas as Hurricane Irma quickly approaches the island

Stormy weather and waves are seen in Nassau, Bahamas as Hurricane Irma quickly approaches the island

Palm trees bend in the strong winds in Dunmore town, Bahamas on September 7. The storm slowed to a category four over Cuba and the Bahamas but is expected to pick up again to category five when it hits Florida

Palm trees bend in the strong winds in Dunmore town, Bahamas on September 7. The storm slowed to a category four over Cuba and the Bahamas but is expected to pick up again to category five when it hits Florida

A man carries a matress to a safer place on September 8 in Cuba ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma there. Though it has slowed to category four it is still expected to leave destruction in its path 

A man carries a matress to a safer place on September 8 in Cuba ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma there. Though it has slowed to category four it is still expected to leave destruction in its path 

Cubans carry their belongings on September 8, 2017 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in a northern town. Irma is expected to hit the area late on Friday night and linger there until Saturday morning

Cubans carry their belongings on September 8, 2017 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in a northern town. Irma is expected to hit the area late on Friday night and linger there until Saturday morning

Cubans carry a boat out of the sea on September 8, 2017 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Caibarien, the only town in the Cuban north central zone under a hurricane warning

Cubans carry a boat out of the sea on September 8, 2017 ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma in Caibarien, the only town in the Cuban north central zone under a hurricane warning

Irma left towns throughout the Caribbean devastated and at least 24 people dead. A photo shows that piles of rubble mixed in with tree branches are seen where once buildings had stood in Marigot, Saint Martin

Irma left towns throughout the Caribbean devastated and at least 24 people dead. A photo shows that piles of rubble mixed in with tree branches are seen where once buildings had stood in Marigot, Saint Martin

As it advances towards south Florida, the state has so far asked 5.6 million people to evacuate - more than a quarter of the state's population. Ominously dark clouds are seen over Miami's skyline prior to Irma's arrival on Friday

As it advances towards south Florida, the state has so far asked 5.6 million people to evacuate – more than a quarter of the state’s population. Ominously dark clouds are seen over Miami’s skyline prior to Irma’s arrival on Friday

A picture taken on September 7, 2017 shows inhabitants of the Sandytown neighborhood in Marigot, Saint Martin, clearing debris in a street

A picture taken on September 7, 2017 shows inhabitants of the Sandytown neighborhood in Marigot, Saint Martin, clearing debris in a street

Startling images from the past several days show the devastation the deadly storm has left in its wake on more than a half-dozen Caribbean islands.

The hurricane took a particularly heavy toll on the French-Dutch island of Saint Martin, where homes, stores, ports, airports, gas stations and power stations were left in shambles after Irma made landfall there as a Category 5 hurricane on Wednesday, packing winds of up to 185mph.

Gnarled black branches of leafless trees, street after street now littered with piles of corrugated tin, plywood, wrought iron, battered cars and unidentifiable objects that were once parts of someone’s life.

The Dutch government on Friday raised its estimate of casualties caused on the Dutch part of the island to two dead, one of natural causes, and 43 wounded. 

Of those wounded, 11 are in critical condition, Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said at a press conference. 

Two hundred Dutch soldiers are assisting on the island from two nearby ships as it struggles to restore its airport and main harbor in order so that it can receive more aid. 

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Friday nine people were killed, at least seven were missing, and 112 others were injured in St. Barthelemy and the French part of Saint Martin. 

The overall death toll stood at 21 Friday afternoon and was expected to rise as rescuers reached some of the hardest-hit areas. 

The hurricane smashed homes, schools, stores, roads and boats on Wednesday and Thursday as it rolled over islands long known as turquoise-water playgrounds of the rich.

It knocked out power, water and telephone service, trapped thousands of tourists and stripped the lush green trees of leaves, leaving an eerie, blasted-looking landscape. Authorities reported looting and gunfire in Saint Martin, and a curfew was imposed in the US Virgin Islands. 

A photo taken on September 7 shows damage in Orient Bay on the French side of Saint-Martin after the passage of Hurricane Irma

A photo taken on September 7 shows damage in Orient Bay on the French side of Saint-Martin after the passage of Hurricane Irma

Heavy toll: Saint Martin is the worst affected so far by the storm, which killed four people and injuried dozens more

Heavy toll: Saint Martin is the worst affected so far by the storm, which killed four people and injuried dozens more

Ground Zero: A photo taken on September 7 shows devastating damage in Orient Bay on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which took a direct hit from Irma this week 

Ground Zero: A photo taken on September 7 shows devastating damage in Orient Bay on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin, which took a direct hit from Irma this week 

A picture taken on September 7 shows ravaged houses on the shoreline of Marigot on the French Carribean island of Saint-Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma

A picture taken on September 7 shows ravaged houses on the shoreline of Marigot on the French Carribean island of Saint-Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Bitter End in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands September 8

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Bitter End in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands September 8

The wrecked Bitter End In Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, is seen from a different angle in the wake of Irma   

The wrecked Bitter End In Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, is seen from a different angle in the wake of Irma   

A devastated airfield, with the air traffic control tower still standing in the center, is seen on Beef Island, British Virgin Islands, on Friday 

A devastated airfield, with the air traffic control tower still standing in the center, is seen on Beef Island, British Virgin Islands, on Friday 

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Cow Wreck beach on Anegada, British Virgin Islands September 8

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Cow Wreck beach on Anegada, British Virgin Islands September 8

Powerful winds tore apart many homes and bungalows in Anegada, British Virgin Islands 

Powerful winds tore apart many homes and bungalows in Anegada, British Virgin Islands 

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma on Saba Rock, British Virgin Islands September 8, 2017, is seen in this still image taken from social media video. MANDATORY CREDIT Caribbean Buzz Helicopters/via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

What looks like a hotel complex on Saba Rock, British Virgin Islands, is seen laying in ruins after the monster storm 

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma on Eustatia Island, British Virgin Islands

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma on Eustatia Island, British Virgin Islands

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Mafolie on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where a pool looks to be still intact after the hurricane 

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma at Mafolie on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, where a pool looks to be still intact after the hurricane 

Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, was battered by the Category 5 storm, which has left the resort island in shambles  

Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands, was battered by the Category 5 storm, which has left the resort island in shambles  

The tiny eastern Caribbean island of Barbuda, where a 2-year-old child was killed, was reduced ‘to rubble’, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said. The storm flattened nearly 95 per cent of all structures on the island, and there were more bad news for the battered landmass in the form of Hurricane Jose, which is expected to make landfall on Saturday, bringing winds of up to 150 mph. 

Stevet Jeremiah, whose son was the sole casualty reported on Barbuda, said the boy was swept to his death after the hurricane ripped the roof off her house and filled it with water.

‘There was so much water beating past us. We had to crawl to get to safety. Crawl,’ she said. ‘I have never seen anything like this in my life, in all the years I experienced hurricanes. And I don’t ever, ever, ever want to see something like this again.’ 

In the British overseas territory of Anguilla, another person was killed and the hospital, airport and power and phone services were damaged, emergency service officials said. 

Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the five most forceful storms to hit the Atlantic basin in 82 years, according to the US National Hurricane Center. 

In this Thursday photo, a building is seen stripped down to the beams on the hard-hit island of Barbuda 

In this Thursday photo, a building is seen stripped down to the beams on the hard-hit island of Barbuda 

The storm killed one person on Barbuda and flattened nearly 95 per cent of all structures on the eastern Caribbean island

The storm killed one person on Barbuda and flattened nearly 95 per cent of all structures on the eastern Caribbean island

Hurricane Jose is expected to make landfall on the storm-ravaged Barbuda on Saturday, bringing winds of up to 150 mph.

Hurricane Jose is expected to make landfall on the storm-ravaged Barbuda on Saturday, bringing winds of up to 150 mph.

Piles of debris are seen on Barbuda on Thursday, just days after the catastrophic storm  

Piles of debris are seen on Barbuda on Thursday, just days after the catastrophic storm  

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma in Tortola, British Virgin Islands September 8

Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma in Tortola, British Virgin Islands September 8

An undated handout picture acquired from the Facebook account of Hubert Haciski on September 8 shows a boat resting on its side on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, after it was hit by Hurricane Irma

An undated handout picture acquired from the Facebook account of Hubert Haciski on September 8 shows a boat resting on its side on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, after it was hit by Hurricane Irma

Tree branches, street signs and poles are seen littering a road in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, in the wake of Irma  

Tree branches, street signs and poles are seen littering a road in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, in the wake of Irma  

The next big one: A satellite map show Jose, now a Category 4 hurricane, churning on Friday afternoon 380 miles away from the northern Leeward Islands in the Atlantic 

The next big one: A satellite map show Jose, now a Category 4 hurricane, churning on Friday afternoon 380 miles away from the northern Leeward Islands in the Atlantic 

In Jose's cross-hairs: The map charts Jose's course, which will take it to Guadalupe and San Juan 

In Jose’s cross-hairs: The map charts Jose’s course, which will take it to Guadalupe and San Juan 

Under threat: Barbuda, Antigua and Anguilla are under hurricane watch. St Thomas is under tropical storm watch, as of Friday afternoon 

Under threat: Barbuda, Antigua and Anguilla are under hurricane watch. St Thomas is under tropical storm watch, as of Friday afternoon 

Downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane, Irma pummeled the Turks and Caicos Islands early Friday after saturating the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti with torrential downpours.

Communications went down as the storm slammed into the islands, and the extent of the devastation was not immediately clear.

The hurricane also spun along the northern coast of Cuba, where tens of thousands of people were being moved to safety, including thousands of tourists along a shoreline dotted with all-inclusive resorts.

US, Dutch, French and British authorities used warships and military planes to rush food, water and troops to the stricken zone.

 The frightful storm then took aim at the southeastern Bahamas, where 20-foot storm surges are expected Saturday.

Palms trees are seen toppled on the ground outside Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos, having been snapped like toothpicks by the hurricane 

Palms trees are seen toppled on the ground outside Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos, having been snapped like toothpicks by the hurricane 

Fearsome gusts of wind brought by Irma uprooted this sign at the village of Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos 

Fearsome gusts of wind brought by Irma uprooted this sign at the village of Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos 

The sun rises on a battered Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, on September 8 

The sun rises on a battered Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, on September 8 

Large trees are pictured laying on the ground in Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, on Friday 

Large trees are pictured laying on the ground in Providenciales, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, on Friday 

While Irma continues to wreak havoc in the Caribbean, before making the dreaded turn towards Florida this weekend, and then Georgia early next week, Hurricane Jose is now following close on its heels.

On Friday, Jose strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane in the central Atlantic. A hurricane watch is in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Dutch Sint Maarten, French Caribbean Saint Martin and St. Barthelemy. 

A tropical storm warning is also in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and Sint Maarten.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba, St. Eustatius, the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John. 

Hurricane Irma devastation is seen on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy

Hurricane Irma devastation is seen on the French Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy

Monster winds accompanying Irma ripped off roofs and toppled trees on Saint Barthelemy in the Caribbean

Monster winds accompanying Irma ripped off roofs and toppled trees on Saint Barthelemy in the Caribbean

Monster winds accompanying Irma ripped off roofs and toppled trees on Saint Barthelemy in the Caribbean 

Saint Bathelemy has sustained dramatic damage as a result of the Category 5 hurricane 

Saint Bathelemy has sustained dramatic damage as a result of the Category 5 hurricane 

A new hurricane watch is in effect for Saint Barth's, now that Jose has strengthened to a Category 4 storm 

A new hurricane watch is in effect for Saint Barth’s, now that Jose has strengthened to a Category 4 storm 

A car is pictured resting upside down next to a battered home on a cliff in Saint Barth's after the storm 

A car is pictured resting upside down next to a battered home on a cliff in Saint Barth’s after the storm 

Images of devastation caused by Irma coming out of the Caribbean this week offer a glimpse of what could lie ahead early Sunday for Florida, which braced for what many fear could be the long-dreaded Big One, with the Miami metropolitan area of 6million in the crosshairs.

Irma was at one point the most powerful recorded storm in the open Atlantic. It could be one of the most devastating storms ever to hit Florida, a state that has undergone rapid development since the last major hurricane struck a dozen years ago.

Florida residents and tourists faced gas shortages and gridlock on inland highways as a half-million people in Miami-Dade County were ordered to clear out before it’s too late. 

Debris is piled up next to the houses on the seashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic,  September 8

Debris is piled up next to the houses on the seashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, September 8

A man feeds pigeons next to a fallen power pole in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A man feeds pigeons next to a fallen power pole in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Locals walk along a street covered with fallen trees in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Locals walk along a street covered with fallen trees in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A man walks past boats lying on the seashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

A man walks past boats lying on the seashore in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Men clean a wastewater canal in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic,  September 8

Men clean a wastewater canal in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, September 8

A woman takes cover from the rain as Hurricane Irma moves off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Nagua, Dominican Republic, September 7

A woman takes cover from the rain as Hurricane Irma moves off the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, in Nagua, Dominican Republic, September 7

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