We had no sooner taken stock of the extraordinary damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas than another uniquely fierce and record-breaking hurricane began heading straight toward the Caribbean and the southeast US.
As of Saturday evening, Hurricane Irma’s winds were socking the north coast of Cuba after direct hits to several tiny Caribbean islands, including the British Virgin Islands and Barbuda, that left more than 21 people dead. The storm, now a Category 3 with winds swirling at 120 miles per hour, is continuing west. Meteorologists say it’s expected to restrengthen to a Category 4 as it makes a turn before striking the Florida Keys on Sunday morning and continuing to the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. Forecasters are warning of life-threatening storm surge of up to 15 feet in South Florida in the coming days.
The extent of the damage to the Caribbean islands Irma has hit so far is still unclear. But its winds, which peaked at 185 mph, have torn through human settlements and toppled trees, while its rain and storm surge have flooded homes and streets. Here are some of the most telling images from the ground we’ve seen so far from Irma’s path. (This post will be updated with new images as the storm moves west.)
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands