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Category 4 Hurricane Irma barrels toward Caribbean, southern U.S.

Category 4 Hurricane Irma barrels toward Caribbean, southern U.S.
From CBC - September 5, 2017

Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 4 storm, plowed toward the Caribbean and the southern United States on Tuesday as islands in its path braced for possible life-threatening winds, storm surges and flooding.

Hurricane warnings and watches were in effect for territories that dot the West Indies, including parts of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, in preparation for a storm that was intensifying with 220 km/hwinds, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The U.S. National Weather Service said in an advisory on Monday: "Preparations should be rushed to completion as tropical storm-force winds are expected to arrive in the hurricane warning area by late Tuesday."

In preparation for the storm, the government of economically struggling Puerto Rico declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard on Monday.

The U.S. island territory, home to about 3.4 million people, has 456 emergency shelters prepared to house up to 62,100 people. Puerto Rico also activated a price freeze on basic necessities, including food and water, medicines, power generators and batteries, to help residents prepare.

The executive director of the state power authority, Ricardo Ramos, told the station that the power grid was so vulnerable from lack of investment that parts of the U.S. territory could be without power for three to four months.

Too early for certainty

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