While Texans are still recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, just a few states away in Florida, residents, government officials and business owners are preparing for landfall of Hurricane Irma.
On Tuesday morning, the storm was upgraded to an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 hurricane — the highest rating possible.
Hurricane Irma, which currently has sustained winds of 185 miles per hour, is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean basin outside the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm is currently battering the Caribbean and is poised to head to Puerto Rico later in the day.
Tropical Storm Jose is now forming behind Hurricane Irma and could become a Category 2 hurricane, though it currently doesn’t present any danger to the United States.
Preparing for the worst
With Harvey fresh on everyone’s minds, people in and around Miami are keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Irma as they attempt to safeguard their homes and businesses and ensure their safety.
Groceries, gas stations and home improvement stores in and around Miami are packed with customers snatching up everything from bottled water to home supplies to help mitigate damage from high winds and flooding, the Miami Herald reported. However, property owners and even renters that currently aren’t insured may be out of luck, with the newspaper reporting that many insurers won’t be writing any new policies in the days before the storm.
After the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, the National Association of Realtors is urging its members to support the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on Sept. 30. The program provides affordable flood insurance to property owners and gives communities tools to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.
Irma vs. Andrew
While Irma is at the front of Miami residents’ mind right now, many are already comparing it to Hurricane Andrew, the Category 5 storm that hit the Bahamas and Florida in August 1992. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in an interview that Irma “is bigger than Andrew.”
Hurricane Andrew caused about $26 billion in damages, destroyed about 49,000 homes and damaged 108,000 more, and caused 15 direct deaths and 28 indirect deaths, according to the National Weather Service.