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The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history has destroyed buildings and caused major flooding on several Caribbean islands, as British tourists are evacuated from the region amid warnings the storm will be "potentially catastrophic".
The island of Barbuda was the first to bear the brunt of Hurricane Irma - a category five storm with winds of 185mph - early on Wednesday, churning along a path pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly hitting Florida over the weekend.
The eye of the hurricane passed over Barbuda at around 1.47am (5.47am BST) before moving to the French islands of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, which officials said had suffered "major damage" with even the "most sturdy" buildings destroyed by winds that tore off rooftops and knocked out electricity.
Irma first passed over Barbuda, an island of 1600 residents, with gusts of at least 155 mph overnight into Wednesday morning. Early Wednesday morning, the eye of Irma then moved over St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and near Anguilla, where sustained winds of 117 mph were measured.
A NOAA National Ocean Service
observing site on Barbuda measured sustained winds of 103 kt with a
gust to 135 kt earlier this morning before the anemometer failed
Those winds were measured right before the anamometer failed. It is highly likely there were higher winds.
originally posted by: jadedANDcynical
a reply to: ericendtimes
The one in the Gulf of Mexico, Katia, is going west into Mexico. Jose is coming along behind Irma.
A week or two ago we were doing some back of the napkin calculations over in TA's live stream and determined that a cat5 hurricane releases about the equivalent energy of a M9.5 earthquake each day; this is roughly equivalent to 5% of the energy the earth receives from the sun in the same time period.