Hurricane Irma continues battering north coast of central Cuba

Hurricane Irma continues battering north coast of central Cuba

Hurricane Irma continues battering north coast of central Cuba

The first predictions were that Hurricane Irma would hit Miami square-on.

The governor also warned of unsafe storm surge of between 6 2 metres and 4 metres across parts of Florida.

"All of America continues, I must say, to pray for families affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, which looks like it's going to be a really bad one", he said, referring to an earlier hurricane that struck Texas in August.

The area is home to pristine keys with more than 50 hotels and beaches. He urged everybody in the Keys to get out.

Across Florida and Georgia, about 1.4 million people were ordered to leave their homes, clogging interstates as far away as Atlanta. Friday afternoon the storm continued its crawl, inching past Cuba-the island nation taking a pounding from the hurricane overnight and throughout the day-and toward the Florida Keys. "We are running out of time". "If you're not on the road on the west coast by noon [16:00 GMT], you need to get to a shelter, get to a friend's house if you're in an evacuation zone".

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Katia was "beginning to stall" near the Sierra Madre mountains - though heavy rainfall would still "likely cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain", the NHC said.

More than 5,500 people were evacuated from the Dominican Republic before the storm hit and initial reports said there had been no deaths on the island.

US President Donald Trump said his administration is monitoring the situation around the clock and is "as prepared as we can be". Officials were preparing a massive response, the head of FEMA said.

About 9 million of Florida's 20.6 million people may lose power, according to the state's largest utility Florida Power & Light Co.

The Carolinas and Georgia have declared emergencies.

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In Fort Lauderdale, most large grocery, hardware and supply stores were closed and do not plan to open until early next week, after the hurricane has passed.

"I dread what I see with Irma after seeing what happened after Andrew, and we see Irma coming as an entirely different kind of hurricane, but with the potential to do the kind of damage that we saw with Andrew, but over a tremendously wider part of the state".

A mandatory evacuation, ordered for the archipelago days ago, meant most people have already left.

Many economists are predicting that third-quarter gross domestic product will take a hit due to the hurricanes.

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, described Barbuda as "barely habitable" after Irma slammed into the island with 185 m/p/h (297 km/p/h) winds, destroying homes, snapping trees and killing at least one person there.

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Bishop Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve of Arauca was kidnapped and shot twice in the head by Colombian Marxist guerrillas in 1989. The pope declared them martyrs who "shed their blood for the love of the flock to whom they were entrusted".

Miami Beach, on the other hand, has a steep dropoff to its continental shelf, which could limit the storm surge to about eight or nine feet under a Category 4 hurricane.dropoff to its continental shelf, which could limit the storm surge to about eight or nine feet under a Category 4 hurricane. While it has weakened over Cuba, there's a good chance the storm will strengthen once it starts moving over open water again, Miller said.

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