Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a Category 5 storm as it made landfall Friday night on the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba, packing winds of 160 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s public advisory.
A turn toward the northwest and Florida is now expected by late Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move near the north coast of Cuba through Saturday, near the Florida Keys Sunday morning, and then near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. While some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or two, Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane as it approaches Florida.
Warnings have grown increasingly dire as the storm bears down on the Florida keys, with one official questioning whether the storm was survivable for those who stayed behind. At 11 PM EDT on Friday, the storm was about 300 miles southeast of Miami, moving at 13 miles per hour.
A storm surge warning, which means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coast, has been extended northward on the east coast of Florida to the Volusia/Brevard County line and on the west coast of Florida to the Anclote River, including Tampa Bay. Storm surge watch has been extended north on the west coast of Florida to the Suwanee River.
The public notice at Friday on Hurricane Irma pulled no punches. “This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.