Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued mandatory evacuation orders for parts of Miami as Hurricane Irma barrels towards the region with fury.
The Christian Examiner quotes the National Hurricane Center as stating early Thursday that “the threat of direct hurricane impacts in Florida over the weekend and early next week continues to increase.”
According to Crime Online, mandatory evacuations are in place for parts of Miami’s metro area and the Florida Keys.
The outlet further reports that Hurricane Irma is the strongest storm out of the Atlantic Ocean ever. It’s weakened only slightly this morning, remaining a Category 5 storm with winds gusting as high as 180 mph.
“This could easily be the most costly storm in U.S. history, which is saying a lot considering what just happened two weeks ago,” Crime Online quotes University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy as stating.
Footage uploaded to social media shows Miami looking like a ghost town in the wake of the evacuation orders.
Meanwhile in the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma has caused mass devastation and claimed several lives.
According to the CBC, Barbuda has been nearly destroyed by the storm, St. Martin is “in ruins” and more than one million people have been left without power in Puerto Rico.
Eight people have died on the islands of St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, with that number expected to rise according to the CBC.
On the island of Anguilla, at least one person has died.
As of this morning, the CBC reports, the center of Hurricane Irma was about 180 kilometers north of Punta Cana, a popular tourist destination in the Dominican Republic.
Please continue to pray for all those affected by Hurricane Irma, that God might put a special hedge around them and their homes.
Catch the latest on the devastating storm via the live stream below.