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The American government has just approved $7.9 billion in relief funding for Hurricane Harvey, and they’ve already got another hurricane threatening the southern coast. Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a category 5 storm yesterday, is threatening a number of Caribbean islands and is predicted to make landfall in southern Florida later this week.

Irma made landfall in the wee hours of Wednesday morning on the Caribbean island Barbuda (population: 2,000) with 185 mph winds, making it one of the most powerful storms recorded in the Atlantic ever. The storm has since passed over the island, but residents have been advised to remain inside because of the residual winds. Also impacted severely when the storm made landfall were the nearby islands Anguilla and Saint-Martin. All the islands have suffered widespread damage.

The hurricane is now continuing its path northwest towards Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands and is expected to make landfall on other Caribbean islands and then Florida. The governors of Puerto Rico and Florida declared a state of emergency on Tuesday and the governor of South Carolina was prompted to follow suit on Wednesday afternoon.


Reports are calling the storm ‘potentially catastrophic’ and ‘life-threatening’ with officials urging people to take it seriously and heed the warnings. One of the proposed reasons there were so many casualties when Harvey hit Houston was that evacuations were not started early enough. This time, officials are not underestimating the severity of the storm.

The Canadian government has issued travel advisories for several Caribbean islands including the aforementioned as well as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

To make matters worse, there’s a third tropical storm on the heals of Irma. Tropical Storm Jose is expected to escalate into a hurricane in the next two days and meteorologists are projecting it may hit some of the same areas as Irma. The storm is expected to eventually veer northwest at a steeper curve than Irma rather than take the exact same path, but it’s too early to tell how many of the same islands it may affect.

More not-so-great news: there’s another storm brewing nearby too. Katia is a tropical storm currently off the east coast of Mexico and could make landfall there by the weekend. Fortunately for the Caribbean islands and southern states, it’s pretty slow-moving right now and likely won’t affect any of the same regions as Irma, Jose and Harvey.

And that’s what’s going on in the Caribbean. Maybe we’ll stay in Canada.

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