Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on the Caribbean, battering the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with historic 297 km/h winds.
The Category 5 storm is the strongest Atlantic Ocean ever recorded, and is expected to remain a category four or five hurricane for the next couple days.
By comparison, Hurricane Harvey – which left at least 70 people dead and thousands of others displaced across Texas and Louisiana – made landfall with wind speeds of up to 212 km/h.
As the ABC points out, Hurricane Irma is roughly the size of Tasmania.
I am at a complete and utter loss for words looking at Irma’s appearance on satellite imagery. pic.twitter.com/B0ewFyvcSv
— Taylor Trogdon (@TTrogdon) September 5, 2017
Hurricane Irma is so strong it’s starting to show up on seismometers in the Caribbean — equipment designed to measure earthquakes. https://t.co/qJrSJ1v8gy
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) September 5, 2017
The United Nations says as many as 37 million people could be affected by Hurricane Irma.
Pictures from the International Space Station show the eye of the storm clearly visible from space.
The eye of Hurricane Irma is clearly visible from the space station as it orbited over the Category 5 storm on Sept. 5, 2017. pic.twitter.com/RpMzYw8NL2
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) September 6, 2017
And pictures and videos from the ground show the utter devastation Irma has left in its wake.
— Northlandfox (@northlandfox) September 6, 2017
In St Marin and St Barthélemy, at least two deaths have been confirmed.
— RCI Guadeloupe (@RCI_GP) September 6, 2017
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 6, 2017
In a text message to a French media company, St Barts senator Michel Margras said:
“I am shocked by the monster that covers us. The island is devastated. It is apocalyptic, a lot of damage, many roofs destroyed.”
And in Puerto Rico, 600,000 people are without power and 50,000 people are without water. 14 of the hospitals have lost power, forcing them to use generators. At least three people have been killed.
— Martha Sugalski (@MarthaSugalski) September 6, 2017
All of the below pics show Puerto Rico, taken by Getty photographer Jose Jimenez. Fortunately for Puerto Rico, the eye of the storm passed just north of the island.
A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, where Irma is expected to hit by Sunday afternoon.