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September 6, 2017
Hurricane Irma, Most Powerful Atlantic Ocean Hurricane in Recorded History

Hurricane Irma, a category-5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, has made landfall late last night, hitting several Caribbean islands. The eye of the storm passed over Barbuda, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy islands. Irma is now pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.

On Barbuda Island, wind speeds of 118 mph and gusts of 155 mph were reported before the sensor failed. The French government has confirmed there are massive electrical blackouts and widespread flooding on the islands of St Barthelemy and St Martin.

Photo of Saint Martin the morning after Irma's made landfall. 

The hurricane is expected to turn northward by September 10 after passing along the northern coast of Cuba. Landfall is highly possible in the Florida Keys and on the South Florida mainland. Forecasts may be subject to change, but if the GFS model is accurate, it is strongly possible that the entire Florida Peninsula will be affected. Depending on its evolution as it passes over the Caribbean islands, Irma may still be a Category-4 storm by the time it approaches Florida. 

President Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas’ Prime Minister announced the evacuation of six southern islands. U.S. authorities have also declared state of emergency for potential landfall on September 10 and 11 for the following areas: 

  • Florida: Key West, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Daytona Beach, Tallahassee, Pensacola, Ft. Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Destin, West Palm Beach, Gainesville, Panama City, Sarasota-Bradenton, St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Melbourne-Space Coast, Naples.
  • Georgia: Atlanta, Savannah, Columbus, Augusta, Albany, Macon-Warner Robins, Waycross, Brunswick-Golden Isles
  • South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Florence


  • Follow all evacuation orders and seek shelter in communities’ facilities (schools, stadiums, churches, etc.) and higher, inland grounds.
  • Fuel vehicles and stock up on essential items (non-perishable food and water).
  • Re-fill your regular and necessary medications and keep them in a waterproof container.
  • Keep important documents in waterproof containers.


  • Contact your airline regarding flight status and inquire about flight changes and reimbursement.
  • Contact your travel agent or hotel regarding the current situation at your destination. Inquire about reimbursement or booking modifications if you need to postpone your trip.
  • Confirm flights before checking out of hotels or attempting to drive to the airport.
  • Follow the orders from local authorities and listen to your hotel’s management directions.
  • If you are in an area affected by Irma, do not attempt do go outside.

The Google Crisis Map is kept up-to-date with the most recent weather models, warnings and advisories. Click on the map below.

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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.

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