Hurricane Irma has become the first storm in the world to sustain winds of 185 miles per hour for more than 24 hours. It’s the longest storm to sustain this speed since the 1970s.
The hurricane, which has already devastated several islands in the Caribbean, is headed toward south Florida, where the National Hurricane Center has issued evacuation orders. As of 8AM ET this morning, the maximum sustained speed was 150 miles per hour and the storm is moving west-northwest at about 16 miles per hour, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
After the devastation of Harvey in Texas last week, Irma is now the storm to watch. It’s already one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and part of a trio of hurricanes that are building in the region. (The other two are Jose, which thankfully may not make landfall, and Katia, which doesn’t seem to be growing too large.) These hurricanes are growing so strong because they’re powered by increasingly warm waters in the ocean.
Irma is a Category 5 storm that has already killed 10 people. Officials are urging Florida residents to heed the storm warnings and evacuate. "I don't know anyone in Florida that has experienced what's about to hit south Florida," FEMA administrator Brock Long told CNN.