Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, is seen in this NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Center image from GOES-16 satellite taken on 5 September 2017. Photo: Noaa National Weather Service / National Hurricane Center

By Graham Lanktree
6 September 2017

(Newsweek) – Hurricane Irma made landfall on the small island of Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane Wednesday as it heads toward the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida.

The size of the storm left hurricane and weather scientists speechless. “I am at a complete and utter loss for words looking at Irma's appearance on satellite imagery,” wrote Taylor Trogdon, a scientist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center‏ on Twitter.

Irma strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane Tuesday with winds up to 185 mph. The storm is most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s so strong it is even showing up on scales for measuring earthquakes.

“No way to sugarcoat it. Irma is the type of tropical cyclone that wipes everything, including all vegetation, clean from small islands,” wrote Anthony Sagliani, the Meteorological Operations Manager at weather data firm Earth Networks. […]

The U.S. Navy has ordered more than 5,000 military personnel, contractors and their families to be evacuated from Naval Air Station Key West. [more]

Hurricane Irma leaves scientists at an 'utter loss for words' as it hits Barbuda



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