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Trump signs emergency declarations as Irma reaches record strength

NOAA via AP

Hurricane Irma is now the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, per the AP. As of this afternoon, it had maximum sustained winds of 185 mph. At its peak, Harvey had winds of around 130 mph.

  • President Trump has approved disaster declarations for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all of which are at risk of being hit head on.
  • Irma is approaching Barbuda and several small islands. An official statement from the government of Barbuda ended with, "May God protect us all."
  • Per AP: "If it stays on the forecast track and reaches the Florida Straits, the water there is warm enough that the already 'intense' storm could become much worse with wind speeds potentially reaching 225 mph, warned Kerry Emanuel, an MIT meteorology professor." That could be catastrophic for the Florida Keys.
  • Another tropical storm, Jose, formed today in the Atlantic.
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