Massive Hurricane Irma whipped through the Caribbean this week, bruising several islands and killing several people.
The system is the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico with 185-mph winds. Irma is now tied for the second strongest hurricane in the entire Atlantic Basin with Wilma (2005), Gilbert (1988) and Florida Keys (1935).
Irma sustained 185-mph winds for 37 hours, the longest any cyclone in the world has maintained such intensity. Hurricane-force winds extended 100 miles wide.
Irma maintained Category 5 strength for the fourth longest duration in history, holding its top intensity for 2.75 days.
The storm made a direct hit on Barbuda early Wednesday morning as a Category 5 hurricane. It later struck St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barts and the British Virgin Islands.
The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda described Barbuda as “barely habitable” on Wednesday afternoon. Thousands are homeless after the storm’s fierce winds ripped buildings and infrastructure apart.
This Sept. 7, 2017 photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Maarten. (Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP)
According to the Associated Press, France sent 100,000 food rations to St. Barts and St. Martin, enough to last four days.
“It’s a tragedy. We’ll need to rebuild both islands,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said.
Roughly 1 million people are without power in Puerto Rico, and it could take months to restore, officials said, after Irma blasted the island.
Hurricane Irma was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the Bahamas since Andrew in 1992.
A professional surfer attempting to ride a wave amid the hurricane died off the coast of Barbados. The Agence France-Press said 16-year-old Zander Venezia, a Barbados native, fell off his board and hit a shallow reef at a beach.
As Florida and other southern U.S. states prepared for Irma, mass evacuations were ordered and people rushed to prepare for potential impact.
Seventy thousand residents and thousands of tourists evacuated the Florida Keys this week. More than 650,000 in Miami-Dade County are under a mandatory evacuation notice, the largest evacuation order in the county’s history, the Miami Herald reported.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that officials are “working aggressively” around the clock to refuel the state’s gas stations.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued mandatory evacuation orders for Chatham County, which includes Savannah.
This is the first time since 2010 three hurricanes have churned in the Atlantic basin, with Katia and Jose also active. Scientists were quick to notice an uncanny similarity from Igor, Julia and Karl in 2010.
Absolutely uncanny copy-paste from 7 years ago. Very bizarre. #Irma #Jose #Katia #Igor #Julia #Karl pic.twitter.com/SHzo0BbZdq
— Brian McNoldy (@BMcNoldy) September 7, 2017
The largest wildfire in Los Angeles history was controlled by officials early this week. Nearly 1,500 people had to evacuate their homes near La Tuna canyon.
The fire charred more than 7,000 acres.
High temperatures led to the spread of the fire in the northern part of the city. A record-breaking heat wave spread over much of the West this week.
The La Tuna fire spread across parts of nothern Los Angeles, causing the closure of parts of the 210 freeway on Sept. 1, 2017. (Twitter photo/@LACoFireAirOps)
Images of LA’s largest-ever wildfire are stunning https://t.co/fDfDtwOv3L pic.twitter.com/oqM0F7rdyE
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) September 4, 2017
The latest burst of heat brought the hottest conditions ever recorded in downtown San Francisco as the mercury soared to 106 degrees Fahrenheit late last week. Dozens of all-time and daily record highs were set from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, and Missoula, Montana, over last weekend.
An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook southwestern Mexico late Thursday night. At least 15 people were killed. One million people initially lost power after the strong quake.
Aftershocks were felt in Mexico City, Austin, Texas, and even as far north as Washington state.