Hurricane Irma ‘is going to devastate parts of United States’


Hurricane Irma is going to “devastate” parts of the United States, the country’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has said.

The storm has been downgraded to a category four but is still packing winds of 155mph as it rolls ominously towards Florida.

FEMA chief Brock Long told reporters: “Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States in either Florida or some of the southeastern states.”

He warned that parts of Florida would be out of electricity for days if not longer and that more than 100,000 people may need shelter.

:: LIVE: The latest on Hurricane Irma

Damage in Orient Bay on the French Carribean island of Saint-Martin

Hurricane Irma pummels Caribbean Islands

America’s National Hurricane Centre has warned of a “life-threatening storm surge and wind impacts to much of the state”.

The storm, which has already killed at least 14 people, is expected to reach Florida on Saturday.

Irma hovered over the Bahamas and the northern coast of Cuba on Friday.

Thousands of tourists were evacuated from low-lying keys off the Cuban coast on Thursday after 20ft storm surges were predicted.

Irma battered British overseas territory the Turks and Caicos Islands early on Friday, causing communications to go down.

:: Fears for missing Britons in wake of Hurricane Irma devastation

A car turned onto its side in Marigot, near the Bay of Nettle, on the French Collectivity of Saint Martin
A car turned onto its side on St Martin

Its progress through the Cairbbean has left a trail of destruction

There has been severe damage to the British Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Anguilla.

Another island, St Martin, has been affected by the looting of televisions and other items.

Minister for France’s overseas territories, Annick Girardin, described “scenes of pillaging” and wondered “how people can take advantage of the distress of others”.

Cars piled on top of one another in Marigot, near the Bay of Nettle, on the French Collectivity of Saint Martin
Cars piled on top of one another on St Martin

On its side of the Franco-Dutch island, the French government said four people had died and about 50 been injured.

A further death was reported on the Dutch side.

Two French frigates are expected to dock in St Martin on Friday. Aid and personnel have also been arriving from the nearby French island of Guadeloupe.

Two more hurricanes – Katia and Jose – have formed in the Atlantic region.

:: You can see our special programme, ‘Hurricane: Path of Destruction’ today on Sky News at 4.30pm, 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

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