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The war goddess Irma has brushed the northern coast of Cuba and is on her way to Florida.

Hurricane Jose is following closely behind and is hitting some of the same Caribbean islands that Irma devastated.

This is an historic moment as far as hurricanes are concerned. More information follows.

Caribbean situation

On Saturday morning, reported (emphases mine below):

Forecasters had further dire news for some of the Caribbean islands reeling in Irma’s wake as data suggested Hurricane Jose was “almost a category five” with sustained winds up to 155mph.

Jose is expected to come close to the devastated northern Leeward Islands on Saturday.

The NHC has issued hurricane warnings for the Commonwealth islands of Barbuda and Antigua and British territory of Anguilla, while the British Virgin Islands are on tropical storm watch.

Irma claimed at least 20 lives and left thousands of people homeless when it smashed into the region on Wednesday.

Five of the 22 people reported to have died during Irma are said to have come from the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

Aid and expertise is being provided to Britain’s territories in the region in a £32 million government cash injection.

Following a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, Mrs May said: “I heard directly from our consul general in Miami about the support that is being given to British nationals living in Florida and also British tourists in Florida.

“We are, of course, working with the US authorities to ensure that every support is available and everything can be done before Hurricane Irma reaches Florida.”

Life-threatening wind, rain and a storm surge are expected in the Turks and Caicos Islands, another British territory, into Saturday, after it was “pummelled” by Irma on Thursday night.

The British Army is on the ground:

Those who missed my two posts on hurricane formation here and here might wish to read them, since this entry will refer to some of the topics discussed therein.

This video from The Telegraph shows what Saint Martin and other islands look like post-Irma:

Watch how quickly water came up this dirt road in Haiti. Scary:

Irma hit the Bahamas (video here).

This is Irma skirting the northern coastline of Cuba:

In Friday night’s post, Irma had been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane. However, as she skirted Cuba, she turned back into a Category 5:

She also underwent eyewall replacement:

The eye might shrink somewhat prior to hitting Florida.

This is an interesting photo:

This is a bizarre video of people on a beach in Cuba waiting for the hurricane.

Record-making Irma

Cubans will remember Irma:

Here’s another Cuban hurricane record:

Irma’s energy is record-breaking, to put it mildly:

Irma makes Andrew (1992) look quite small, which means her reach will be that much greater:


Those evacuating had to put up with long traffic jams:

The Twitter thread comments ask why Governor Scott did not ask for some of the lanes going in the opposite direction to be opened up for evacuees, which would have sped things up:

The airports are now closed for the next few days.

By Friday evening, people living in the Florida Keys had their last window of opportunity to leave:

One person who evacuated from the Keys took her chickens along for the ride. She bundled them up leaving their heads and necks exposed and put them on the back seat and the footwell of her car.

Petrol pumps have run dry, which will make any last-minute evacuations nearly impossible:

I have read anecdotally that people are having a difficult time getting through to Florida emergency agencies by phone. There is a number that people can text to receive updates.

Speaking of phones:

Irma’s path

A few days ago, it was thought that Irma would go up Florida’s east coast. Some Floridians went to the west coast for safety. Now it looks as if the hurricane will hit the west coast. Not surprisingly, people are upset, but, regardless, the whole of the state is likely to suffer intense damage:

Here is the projected drift westward:

Here’s another view:

Irma might become a Category 4 (see the hot pink hurricane symbols) again once she hits Florida:

The water temperature is ideal for Irma’s strength — 31°C:

Here is a big picture overview as of Friday.

Rain started in southern Florida late on Friday:

Strong winds are expected in Georgia and parts of the Carolinas:

This is very serious (another view here):

Storm surges

Storm surges are life threatening. Here is the list of warnings from Friday. Western counties in Florida are listed. Here is another shorter one predicting six to twelve foot storm surges. This news video says they are also in effect for eastern counties, although less surge is expected.

That said, the east coast is expected to get 100-mph winds and a two- to four-foot storm surge.

These are the areas at risk. Much of this is built-up land. Millions of people live here:

This is an old photo of the aftermath of storm surge:

Rescue and relief

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump spent the weekend at Camp David with cabinet officials. They are in close communication with Governor Scott with regard to Irma.

Meanwhile, a US Navy aircraft carrier, two ships and other equipment are on their way to Florida in order to provide relief to hurricane victims.

The Revd Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse charity is currently in Saint Martin and is readying trucks and volunteers for Florida.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief — UMCOR — have been helping Harvey victims and are preparing to help those affected by Irma.

The Texas Navy and the Cajun Navy are on their way to Florida.

Possible social problems in the aftermath

Sundance from The Conservative Treehouse has been generously updating readers as he prepares for Irma to touch down this weekend.

He is a Floridian and has participated in hurricane rescue and relief efforts. He foresees a lot of problems post-Irma.

These are excerpts from ‘Understanding the Unique Challenge to South Florida During Irma’  (bold emphases in the original, those in purple mine):

South Florida has not had a South to North path hurricane in multiple decades. There were probably less than two million residents in Florida the last time it happened; now there’s approximately 21 million.

For our friends in the Westward Keys and Southern Gulf Side (South West Florida), please pay particular attention to this current storms path. Unlike the Eastern coast of Florida the South West coast (Gulf Side) is primarily made up of recently populated “shallow water” Gulf barrier Islands. A Category 5 storm that skirts the Western coast of Florida, from Ten Thousand Islands Northward to Sarasota, and maintains inflow energy from the Gulf of Mexico, is a topography changing event …

In a scenario where Cat 4 or 5 Irma continues Northwest (current track), then takes a sharp right turn, Northward up the Southwest coast of Florida, well, the coastal vulnerabilities are almost too staggering to contemplate.

Incredibly, the ground along the west coast — islands and resort towns on the mainland — is very fragile:

The tenuous coastal and barrier island ‘ground‘ is crushed shell and sand, and their entire topography is subject to change as the shallow and severely churned gulf waters carry in sand/silt and excavate the same.

Just like 2004’s Hurricane Charley split an entire island (Upper Captiva) in less than 15 minutes, so too could entire coastal communities be split or covered in sand within a few hours. Bridges rising from mainland on one side could disappear into the new coastal Gulf of Mexico on the other, with the barrier island completely removed.

Sundance also predicts severe logistical problems, which could lead to lawlessness and/or social conflict. This is from ‘BREAKING: 5.6 Million Floridians Urged to Evacuate Ahead of Irma’ (emphases mine below):

Anticipate the concerning fuel issue being the challenge again in the aftermath; as it has been in the lead-up. Fuel demand generally doubles AFTER a storm hits with widespread power disruption; I can only imagine what this means for next week

Power is going to be a big issue. If the path is anything like current projections we can anticipate a power outage in Florida breaking all known records. This issue is made complicated by the South To North direction of Irma keeping the inbound power recovery teams from being able to head south.

Once again this geographical dynamic means the Southern most impact zone will be without power the longest. Unfortunately, this is also the impact zone without fuel the longest; and subsequently you can see the ongoing exponential fuel crisis exacerbated by those with individual generators running out of fuel before replenishment can reach them. FUBAR.

With all of these combined factors, essentially, after tonight – everything is in full hunker down mode until approximately a week from now. I’m not too optimistic that most people are aware of that likely probability. That leads to the concerns of lawlessness etc.

As a rough guess, based entirely on just driving around paying attention, it would appear about 25% of homesteads are not prepared at all. About 50% of those observed in the region are moderately prepared, and about 25% appear generally well prepared.

I would estimate the number of people fully comprehending what might take place over the next 5-10 days (meaning having some foundational knowledge of how to move forward amid chaos) in the 3-5% range. Not coincidentally, that’s about the same range of the general population who would be considered “preppers”.

Exactly. Everyone makes fun of preppers. We shall see how things unfold in southern Florida, particularly in the cities. Hmm.

Two hurricanes and a tropical storm

The more I read about two hurricanes and a tropical storm in close proximity of each other, I cannot help but think that God is furious with humanity:

Just days after Irma, Jose is moving in:

And it is not just those storms in the Florida/Gulf of Mexico/Caribbean region.

Out West, there have been a number of forest fires raging. They extend to Canada’s western provinces. Most deposit a layer of ash, which can make breathing difficult:

Judging from the trees right now where I live in England — e.g. holly berries in August — it looks as if we will have an early winter. I hope there will be no nasty surprises in store. I really am concerned about what lies ahead here in Europe weatherwise in a few months’ time.

Forbidden Bible Verses will be posted tomorrow.

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