There may be no natural disaster more humbling than hurricanes, with their gale force winds and flood-surges that destroy people’s homes, livelihoods and lives. Now two of them, back-to-back, have battered the United States and parts of the Caribbean and Cuba in the space of three weeks, including Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane, which left much of Houston underwater, and Irma, which started out as a Category 5, the biggest hurricane to hit the United States since Andrew in 1992.
“The U.S. has never been hit, since we started collecting records in 1851, by two Category 4 or stronger hurricanes in the same season,” said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist and co-founder of Weather Underground.
Hurricane Irma made landfall early this morning in the Caribbean on the small island of Barbuda as a Category 5 hurricane packing record setting force on a path toward the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida.
Irma is the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Official warnings referred to Irma’s “onslaught” in a statement that closed with: “May God protect us all.”