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Hurricane Irma is the largest and strongest storm that has ever been recorded in either the Atlantic or the Pacific. Irma began to make landfall last night in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. Information has been slow to come from the outer islands. There was no news or information out of Barbuda until an hour ago when the Antigua News Room broke that the Island had suffered almost complete destruction.

Information is slowly coming in detailing the destruction that Irma has wrought on these outer islands. French president Emmanuel Macron said while it is too early to tell the damage to the French Caribbean, he stated, “the toll will be harsh and cruel.”

To add insult to injury, Hurricane José has formed right behind Irma in the mid-Atlantic. While its course and development can’t be predicted this early, it is also tracking in the Atlantic heading west-northwest towards the Caribbean.

A NOAA infrared image of the intensity of Hurricane Irma as a Category 5 storm. 

A NOAA infrared image of the intensity of Hurricane Irma as a Category 5 storm. 

Florida and the southeastern coast of the United States are now frantically preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, which, due to its power, may land as a Category 3 or 4 storm. Irma is so large she threatens to cover all of Florida from the Keys to the Panhandle. Irma will likely begin to affect South Florida by Sunday morning. Many areas of Florida, including all the Florida Keys, are currently under a mandatory evacuation order.

The USCG is also warning mariners in Southern Florida to prepare their vessels and persons as Hurricane Irma approaches. If you are in the storm's potential path and you are looking for information on preparing your vessel for a hurricane, check out our resource on vessel preparedness.

Check out these videos below as information starts to emerge from the Leeward Islands:

Are you a mariner in the potential path of Hurricane Irma? If so, we’d like to hear from you. What are your hurricane plans? What are you doing to prepare yourself and your vessel? Let us know in the comments below and we will make sure to reach out to you to see how you managed the storm once it has passed.