Hurricane Live Updates: Irma, Jose and Katia Threaten Florida, Georgia, Mexico, Caribbean Islands

Newsweek's latest live blog on Irma, Jose and Katia is here.

Update: 5:09 p.m. EDT— As Floridians ramp up last-second preparations for Hurricane Irma—the massive category 4 is forecast to make landfall in the southern part of the state late Saturday or early Sunday—Fox News Research tweeted out the latest figures from the Red Cross in the state.

The relief organization has on hand 560 workers; supplies, cots and blankets for 120,000 people; 120,000 meals; and 120 emergency vehicles, according to Fox.

 

Update: 4:38 p.m. EDT— As Hurricane Irma swirled toward Florida, with landfall expected this weekend, preparations included more than just distributing fuel, food and water.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the state's two nuclear power plants could potentially suffer a direct hit from the Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 miles per hour.

One plant is just south of Miami; the other is about 125 miles north of the city, and officials said they have taken the proper steps to get ready for the storm. "We have tried-and-true processes in place," Eric Silagy, chief executive of NextEra Energy's Florida Power & Light subsidiary, told the Post.

The Navy is also preparing for the storm, positioning the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, as well as other ships, so they can provide quick relief after the storm hits, reported CNN Friday. 

Irma has killed at least 20 people while tearing through the Caribbean, according to The New York Times.

Update: 4:08 p.m. EDT— As Floridians prepared for landfall of Hurricane Irma, the International Space Station on Friday published a stunning video of the dangerous Category 4 storm from space. The video, which shows both Irma and Hurricane Jose, also a Category 4, was taken in the morning. 

Update: 3:43 p.m. EDT— As Hurricane Irma crawls toward the United States Friday, it's worth looking at some of the devastation it has already left in its wake as it sits about 380 miles southeast of Miami. At least 20 people have died, according to The New York Times, and many communities in the Caribbean have been nearly entirely leveled. Embedded below are photos of some of the damage done by Irma.

Update: 3:22 p.m. EDT— Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida announced it was closing its parks early Saturday and would remain closed through Monday. Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm, is expected to make landfall in Florida over the weekend.

It is very rare for Disney World to close; business reporter Richard Southern tweeted that it was just the fifth time in history the park has shut down.

Update: 2:52 p.m. EDT—  As Americans prepared Friday to deal with the potential devastation of Hurricane Irma—a Category 4 storm that is expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend and then possibly affect Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina—President Donald Trump's campaign arm was soliciting donations by calling the news fake.

Nick Corasaniti of The New York Times tweeted out a text message reportedly sent out by Trump's campaign that read, "DJT: I fight for AMERICA. The career politicians and the FAKE NEWS will not stop us!" The message promoted the latest Trump advertisement and asked for donations. 

While Trump has issued statements on the hurricane, many folks might actually need to rely on the news media to get critical information to stay safe. At least 20 people have died from Irma, according to the Times.

Update: 2:37 p.m. EDT— The White House homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, spoke to journalists about Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm that is expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend. As officials rushed to distribute fuel, Bossert on Friday warned that folks should have 72 hours' worth of supplies, according to The Guardian. 

“At some point people are going to be on their own, so to speak, for a period of time when the flooding, the wind and the rain bear down on them," Bossert said.

Irma barreled through the Caribbean—at least 20 have died, according to The New York Times—and the storm was about 380 miles southeast of Miami Friday afternoon.

Update: 2:21 p.m. EDT— A potentially devastating moment in history was noted on Twitter as three powerful hurricanes swirled throughout the Atlantic basin Friday afternoon. Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in hurricanes, tweeted that the area on Friday had three hurricanes Category 2 or higher—Irma, Jose and Katia—for just the second time in history and the first time since 1893. 

Update: 2:12 p.m. EDT— The National Hurricane Center released its latest advisories Friday afternoon, noting that the eye of Category 4 Irma "should continue to move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas for the rest of [Friday] and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning." Irma's sustained winds were hitting 155 miles per hour Friday, with gusts even higher. 

Jose, meanwhile, was forecast to pass "near or east of the northeastern Leeward Islands on Saturday," according to the National Hurricane Center. It remained a powerful category 4 hurricane with winds up to 150 miles per hour and had the potential to damage areas that had already been hit by Irma, including Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Katia's winds had strengthened to 105 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde, and the National Hurricane Center recommended "preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion." The storm was expected to make landfall early Saturday. 

Read more of the latest advisories from the National Hurricane Center here

Update: 1:48 p.m. EDT— Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and climate writer, tweeted Friday afternoon, "In case I haven't said it enough already, Hurricane Irma is huge."

Holthaus noted Irma's "hurricane-force wind field packs" greater than five times the energy of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated southern Florida in 1992. Irma is a Category 4 hurricane that has already killed at least 19 people as it tore through the Caribbean. 

Update: 1:08 p.m. EDT— The sporting world, the NFL especially, has had to make adjustments to schedules in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 4 hurricane expected to make landfall in south Florida this weekend. The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Friday afternoon that its team and staff would remain in Houston after playing a game there Sunday night. The franchise said it would evaluate their travel options after the weekend.

"We will be thinking of those in our city and throughout Florida and the southeast who will be affected as well as first responders who will be working through this storm," the Jaguars said in a statement. 

The NFL already postponed a game scheduled to be played in Miami Sunday between the Bucaneers and Dolphins.

Update: 12:13 p.m. EDT— First lady Melania Trump took to Twitter to urge Americans to be careful as the nation prepared for Hurricane Irma, a Category 4 storm expected to make landfall in Florida this weekend. "If you are in or near projected path of #HurricaneIrma please listen to local law enforcement in the area. Stay safe!!!," Trump tweeted. 

Irma, which has killed at least 19 people, was making its way through the Bahamas Friday, with hurricane conditions expected to soon reach Cuba.

Update: 12:05 p.m. EDT— While delivering a briefing Friday on Hurricane Irma—a powerful category 4 storm that has reportedly killed at least 19 people—Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Miami Dolphins fan, pivoted to make a joke about the New England Patriots, who lost in the NFL's season opener Thursday night.

"This is no time to be thinking, 'Oh maybe this will pass like all the other [hurricanes],'" Rubio warned. "We're going to be hit by something bad. How bad? We'll find out. But we've got to be prepared for the worst and obviously if that doesn't happen then we have a different outcome that we'll all be happy about. So, this is a very concerning matter, but I do have some good news: The New England Patriots are 0-1." 

Update: 11:48 a.m. EDT— The National Hurricane Center posted its latest warnings Friday morning for hurricanes Irma, Jose and Katia

Irma, a category 4, had winds of 150 miles per hour Friday and was moving west-northwest at about 14 miles per hour. "On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move near the north coast of Cuba and the central Bahamas today and Saturday, and be near the Florida Keys and the southern Florida Peninsula Sunday morning," the National Hurricane Center noted. 

Jose, meanwhile, was upgraded to a category 4 storm the National Hurricane Center called "extremely dangerous" in its public advisory. Multiple islands in the Caribbean, still reeling from Irma, were under hurricane watches for Jose, including Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla. Jose's winds had also risen to 150 miles per hour. 

Katia, located in the Gulf of Mexico, continued to strengthen about 125 miles out from Veracruz, Mexico. A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde in Mexico. 

Check out the National Hurricane Center website for more info.

 

 

Update: 11:23 a.m. EDT— President Donald Trump posted a video message to the American people Friday warning about the dangers posed by Hurricane Irma, a category 4 storm expected to make landfall in Florida Saturday then potentially impact Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

"My fellow Americans, as Hurricane Irma approaches my administration is working closely with our state and local partners to help save lives, protect families and assist those in need," Trump said in the message. "This is a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential. I ask everyone in the storm's path to be vigilant and to heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our people. We're doing everything we can to help with disaster preparations and when the times comes we will restore, recover and rebuild together as Americans. "

Watch the full message below.

Update: 11:07 a.m. EDT— Conservative radio host and climate denier Rush Limbaugh, who this week floated the idea that hurricanes were a liberal conspiracy to push the so-called climate change agenda, has reportedly evacuated south Florida as Hurricane Irma approached the state, expected to make landfall Saturday night. 

That's a stark shift from earlier in the week when Limbaugh said Irma was an exaggerated liberal hoax in a long rant doling out improper advice for dealing with the storm, a category 4 that has killed at least 19 people. 

Update: 10:48 a.m. EDT— Reports of traffic jams and long fuel lines swelled Friday morning as Floridians attempted to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma's expected landfall in the state Saturday night. CNN reported highways were not running one-way because fuel trucks and emergency services still needed to make their way to areas expected to be hit by the storm. The network reported Google was working with state officials to update road closures in real-time on maps.

The Associated Press reported normally quick trips were taking all day as about half-a-million people have been ordered to leave their homes. Photos and videos posted to Twitter showed massive backups.

Update: 10:37 a.m. EDT— Florida officials doled out tips for riding out storms Friday morning as Hurricane Irma barreled its way toward the state, the storm expected to make landfall on the southern coast Saturday night. 

The city of Miami Beach account tweeted a series of pro tips, including, "Fill up your washing machine with ice & fill with items you want to keep chilled. Close the lid & it'll stay cool" and "Put a piece of sod inside of a kiddie pool, you can use this as a potty area for your dog."

The Orlando police account added, "We have also heard that if you store things in your closed and locked dishwasher, they will stay dry."

Update: 10:23 a.m. EDT— Billionaire Richard Branson, the head of Virgin, wrote in a blog post that his private island in the Caribbean was devastated by Hurricane Irma, the now category 4 storm that has reportedly killed at least 19 people and is making its way through the Bahamas Friday morning.

"It is a traumatic time here in the British Virgin Islands," he wrote. "I have never seen anything like this hurricane. Necker [Island] and the whole area have been completely and utterly devastated. We are still assessing the damage, but whole houses and trees have disappeared."

Branson said he and his team were well and urged folks to be safe and help however they could. Virgin, he said, had made a donation to relief efforts and had flown in supplies. "We will do whatever we can to support and assist our local community through this extremely testing time," Branson wrote. 

Update: 10:05 a.m. EDT— Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a press conference Friday repeatedly stressed that Floridians, folks accustomed to hurricanes, had likely never seen anything like Irma, a powerful category 4 storm expected to make landfall in the state Saturday night. Scott said people considering staying despite evacuation orders risked be stranded and suffering serious consequences.

"We will do everything we can to get you out, but you have to call now if you’re in an evacuation zone. We cannot save you in the storm," the governor said, via the Guardian. Scott stressed time is running out.

“This is a catastrophic storm that our state has never seen," he said. "We can rebuild your home, we cannot rebuild your life."

Update: 9:57 a.m. EDT— Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned Floridians Friday that Hurricane Irma, a category 4 storm that is forecast to make landfall in the state Saturday night, is an extremely powerful and dangerous storm. “Do not put yourself or your family’s life at risk. If you have been ordered to evacuate, please go,” Scott said, according to CNN.

Update: 9:49 a.m. EDT— President Donald Trump on Twitter Friday warned Americans to be prepared for Hurricane Irma, a powerful category 4 storm tracking toward Florida, expected to make landfall in the state Saturday night. 

"Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen. Be safe and get out of its way,if possible. Federal G is ready!" Trump tweeted. He then compared the storm to Harvey, which last week caused devastating flooding in Texas. At least 70 people died from Harvey.

"Our incredible U.S. Coast Guard saved more than 15,000 lives last week with Harvey. Irma could be even tougher. We love our Coast Guard!" Trump tweeted. 

Irma has killed at least 19 people along its path through the Caribbean. 

Original story: 

Hurricane Irma, a massive, deadly storm, tore through the Bahamas and barreled toward Florida Friday morning.

Overnight the hurricane, now a category 4, continued its path through the Caribbean, striking the Turks and Caicos islands. The storm, which has leveled entire communities, had left at least 19 dead, although authorities warned that number could rise, according to the New York Times. The paper reported that authorities on the small islands of Antigua and Barbuda estimate half of all residents lost their homes, while more than 1 million people in Puerto Rico were without power. 

Irma was beginning its path over the Bahamas early Friday, tracking over Acklins Island with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. Residents in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, scrambled to prepare, many looking to find generators with the expectation they would lose power for an extended period of time, CNN reported

As the storm neared the states, prediction models have determined it's likely to strike south Florida hard. Early Friday morning the storm was some 450 miles southeast of Miami, where the hurricane is likely to make landfall Saturday night, the Miami Herald reported. It's reportedly expected the storm will make a turn to the north during the day Saturday and eventually the strike the southeastern coast of peninsula. Irma will bring "life-threatening storm surge and wind-impacts" for much of Florida, according to the National Weather Service. Officials have warned Floridians, accustomed to hurricanes, to take warnings and evacuation orders seriously, noting this storm is one of the strongest in history. 

"I don't know anyone in Florida that has experienced what's about to hit south Florida," FEMA administrator Brock Long said, according to CNN

The storm also threatens direct impacts in parts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, but "it is too early to specify the magnitude and location of these impacts," according to the National Weather Service. 

Meanwhile, two other major hurricanes have formed. Hurricane Jose had gained strength to become a category 3 storm in the central Atlantic and could hit Antigua and Barbuda, two islands already devastated by Irma. It's expected the storm will not have a major impact on the U.S.

Katia, a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, increased to a category 1 hurricane in the middle of this week and is expected to gain in strength—perhaps to a category 3—before making landfall in Mexico Saturday. It's expected the Mexican state of Veracruz will see the worst of it.

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