When Will Hurricane Irma Hit Florida? The State Has Declared A State Of Emergency

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With Hurricane Harvey damage still afflicting Houston and other parts of the Texas coast, America is nevertheless gearing up for a potential second catastrophic storm, as Hurricane Irma is now labeled as a Category 5, and is headed through the Caribbean straight through Puerto Rico and toward Florida. It is expected to hit some of the islands as early as tonight, and then more damage come later when Hurricane Irma hits Florida.

Irma isn't expected to make it all the way to Florida until later in the week — probably not until the weekend at earliest. But officials in the Sunshine State are already preparing for the worst. An evacuation order for the Florida Keys has been issued, starting Wednesday evening, and Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has declared a state of emergency.

Maximum winds for the storm are expected to be close to 185 miles per hour, making it among the very strongest hurricanes on record in the Atlantic Ocean — the last one that had stronger winds was Hurricane Allen in 1980.

Already by Tuesday night, Irma is expected to start hitting the northern Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, and will be hitting the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Haiti by the following day, with the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands expecting to be hit by the storm on Thursday. Hurricane predictions are imprecise, so it's impossible to know exactly when or where the hurricane will hit, or how strong the storm will be when it makes landfall on a particular area.

Officials are preparing for the worst in advance of the historically dangerous storm. The mayor of Miami, Carlos Gimenez, has announced the possibility of evacuations starting in the coastal city as soon as Wednesday, especially for people in particularly vulnerable hurricane zones, and disabled and elderly residents.

The federal government is still finishing up its rescue mission from Hurricane Harvey along the Texas coast as they gear up to deal with the oncoming potential damage in Florida. The Coast Guard, which deployed thousands of recruits to Texas for Harvey, is sending many of those to Florida and the Caribbean in order to prepare for Harvey.

As if the thought of back to back massive hurricanes hitting the continental U.S. within the period of just two weeks wasn't enough, there is also the possibility of Tropical Storm Jose, gaining strength out in the Atlantic and potentially becoming a hurricane itself, and hitting a similar area.