Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Hurricane Irma has left widespread damage throughout the Caribbean, leaving Barbuda "uninhabitable" and destroying much of the island of St. Martin. (Photo: @AmyGehrt/Twitter)

Florida Warned 'Don't Let Your Guard Down' as Irma Roars for Direct Hit

After devastating Caribbean, historic hurricane expected to bring catastrophic winds and flooding to low-lying south Florida

Julia Conley

Despite media reports of weakening winds, weather experts warned South Florida residents to remain vigilant and prepare for the worst as Hurricane Irma approaches the region, headed north from the Caribbean.

The National Hurricane Center called the storm "extremely dangerous" even though it's been downgraded from a Category 5 to a Category 4 storm, with winds currently rushing at 155 miles per hours.

The hurricane could make landfall in South Florida by early Sunday, with a potential direct hit in the densely-populated and low-lying Miami and Ft. Lauderdale areas. According to FEMA, many of the area's 4.5 million residents live in flood-hazard zones, and Miami lies only about six feet above sea level, leaving the city highly vulnerable to storm surges which are expected to reach five to ten feet.

Meanwhile, officials in Turks and Caicos assessed the damage after Irma ripped through the islands on Thursday night. Dozens of roofs were ripped off homes by howling winds, flooding was reported, and Grand Turk was coping with an island-wide blackout after utility poles were demolished.

Haiti, whose fragile infrastructure was ill-prepared for the hurricane, appeared to have avoided the worst, but officials warned that flooding risks and damaged infrastructure remain a threat.Flooding and power outages were seen in the impoverished country, which experienced hundreds of fatalities when it was hit by Hurricane Matthew last year, as well as a cholera outbreak following the storm.

A confirmed nineteen people have been killed since Irma first hit the Caribbean region on Tuesday, but that number could still rise. Thousands have been left homeless, and the financial costs from the storm, according to estimates, now range in the hundreds of billions.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'No Time to Waste': New Nationwide March For Our Lives Protests Set for June 11

"Together, we rose up four years ago. One million of us demanded change. We built a movement. We voted for new leaders. And the gun deaths increased. Now is the moment we march again."

Brett Wilkins ·


'We Need Fewer Guns in Schools, Not More': Teachers Reject GOP Call for Armed Educators

"Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards," the president of a leading teachers' union asserted in the wake of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas.

Brett Wilkins ·


Faith Leaders, Teachers Mobilize for Protests at NRA's Houston Meeting in Wake of Uvalde Massacre

"Don't look away," said one advocacy group. "Rally against the NRA."

Julia Conley ·


NY Appeals Court Rules Trump and Two of His Kids Must Testify in Financial Fraud Case

"Our investigation will continue undeterred because no one is above the law," said New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Kenny Stancil ·


After Racist Massacre in Buffalo, Senate GOP Blocks Domestic Terrorism Bill

"There are a lot of MAGA Republicans for whom no amount of gun violence... will ever, ever convince them to take any action," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo