Irma Now a 'Dangerous Major Hurricane'
Florida, Puerto Rico brace as storm reaches Category 5
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2017 5:14 AM CDT
Updated Sep 5, 2017 7:05 AM CDT
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This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Irma nearing the eastern Caribbean.   (NOAA via AP)

(Newser) Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5 storm as it barrels toward Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands. The National Hurricane Center, which describes Irma as a "dangerous major hurricane," says islands could start feeling hurricane conditions later Tuesday and it could make landfall in Anguilla early Wednesday, CNN reports. In Puerto Rico, a state of emergency has been declared and residents have been cleaning stores out of food and drinking water. Authorities warn the storm could generate waves 23 feet high. "This is not an opportunity to go outside and try to have fun with a hurricane," says US Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp. "It's not time to get on a surfboard."

Meteorologists warn that Irma, which could dump up to 10 inches of rain on the area, is moving into warmer waters that are expected to give it added power, NBC News reports. The storm is expected to take a west-northwest turn on Tuesday night, putting it on course to potentially slam into Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency, the Miami Herald reports. Georgia and the Carolinas could also be at risk, says Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather. Irma has the "potential to be a major event for the East Coast," he says. "It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of (Hurricane) Harvey."

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