Hurricane Irma: Caribbean area devastated as storm takes aim at Florida

Hurricane Irma: Caribbean area devastated as storm takes aim at Florida

Members of the civil defense run as Hurricane Irma howls past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez
Members of the civil defense run as Hurricane Irma howls past Puerto Rico after thrashing several smaller Caribbean islands, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean on Friday, leaving a trail of devastation and killing 12 as it barreled towards the United States where up to a million people were told to flee.

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At least 12 dead as Hurricane Irma ravages Caribbean

Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean on Friday, with its violent winds and torrential rains leaving a trail of devastation and killing 12 as it barreled towards the United States where up to a million people were told to flee.

With the monster storm expected to reach the American south by the weekend, coastal areas of Florida and Georgia were battening down and carrying out the biggest evacuation since 2005.

Those red lines are warnings, not the path the storm is expected to take. (Graphic from US National Hurricane Center)

"The entire southeastern United States better wake up and pay attention," warned US federal emergency chief Brock Long. "It will be truly devastating."

Barreling across the Caribbean, the rare Category Five storm laid waste to a series of tiny islands like St Martin, where 60 percent of homes were wrecked, before slamming the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

As it raged westwards, Irma packed winds of up to 295 kilometers per hour, an intensity it sustained for 33 hours – the longest of any storm since satellite monitoring began in the 1970s.

On many islands, violent winds had ripped roofs or facades off homes and businesses, tossing cars and even shipping containers aside like matchsticks.

The storm gets worse and worse as it pummels the Virgin Islands.

So far, 1.2 million people have been affected by Irma, the International Red Cross said.

But that number looks set to rise – possibly reaching as many as 26 million.

Florida is expecting to face the brunt of the hurricane from Sunday, with forecasters warning of storm surges of up to 25 feet (almost eight meters) above normal tide levels.

Workers hang plywood in front of doors and windows at Mango's, a salsa club, following mandatory evacuation orders in Miami Beach, Florida, September 7, 2017, ahead of Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Irma will have a "truly devastating" impact when it slams into southern coastal areas of the United States, the head of the US emergency agency said. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Tourists in the popular Key West islands were packing their bags on a mandatory evacuation order, with a similar order for residents due to follow.

"We can't save you once the storm starts," Governor Rick Scott told a press conference.

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Vocabulary

  • affected (verb): having received an effect or influence - ถูกผลกระทบ, มีผลต่อ
  • barrel (verb): to move very fast in a particular direction, often, but not always, in a way that you cannot control - เคลื่อนไหวด้วยความรวดเร็ว
  • batten down (verb): to fix something firmly in position; to brace for something bad like a severe storm - ผูกไว้กับกระดาน, ตรึงไว้ให้แน่น, เตรียมพร้อมรับปัญหา
  • brunt (noun): the main force of something unpleasant ส่วนหนักที่สุดที่ได้รับหรือกระทบ, ผลกระทบที่รุนแรง - ส่วนหนักที่สุดที่ได้รับหรือกระทบ, ผลกระทบที่รุนแรง
  • category five (adj): of a severe storm with a maximum sustained wind speed greater than 110 knots (200 km/h, 130 mph) and gusts be above 150 knots (280 km/h, 175 mph) -
  • chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ
  • coastal: of an area of land beside the sea - แนวชายฝั่งทะเล
  • container: a large metal or wooden box of a standard size in which goods are packed so that they can easily be lifted onto a ship, train, etc. to be transported - ตู้บรรจุสินค้า
  • devastating: damaging badly or destroying - ทำลายล้าง
  • devastation: damage or destruction affecting a large area or a lot of people - การทำลายล้าง, การทำให้เสียหายอย่างรุนแรง
  • due to: scheduled to - มีกำหนด
  • emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน
  • evacuation: moving people from a place of danger to a safer place - การอพยพ
  • façade: the front of a building, especially one that is large or impressive - ด้านหน้าของตึกที่แสดงรายละเอียดของสถาปัตยกรรม, ส่วนหน้าของอาคาร
  • federal: relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the United States - เกี่ยวกับสหพันธรัฐ
  • flee: to leave a place or person quickly because you are afraid of possible danger - หนี อพยพ
  • forecaster: someone whose job is to make a statement about what is likely to happen, especially relating to the weather - นักพยากรณ์(อากาศ)
  • hurricane: a violent storm with very strong winds, especially in the western Atlantic Ocean - พายุเฮอริเคน
  • impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ
  • intensity (noun): strength - ความเข้มข้น
  • lay waste (verb): lay waste - ทำลาย
  • level: a position or rank in a scale of size or importance - ระดับ
  • mandatory: ordered by a law or rule - ตามข้อบังคับ
  • matchstick: a single wooden match for lighting fires - ไม้ขีดไฟ
  • monitor: keep track of - ตรวจ, ติดตาม, เฝ้าสังเกต
  • monster: unusually large - ใหญ่โตมาก, มหึมา, มโหฬาร
  • normal (adj.): typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ
  • plywood (noun): board made by sticking thin layers of wood on top of each other - ไม้อัด
  • press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
  • pummel: to keep hitting somebody/something hard - ตี, ต่อย, ชก
  • rare: not happening very often - เกิดขึ้นได้ยาก
  • ravage: to destroy something or damage it very badly - ทำให้เสียหาย, ทำลาย, ล้างผลาญ
  • residents: people who live in a particular area - ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
  • rip: to tear something quickly and with a lot of force - ฉีก, กรีด, ตัด
  • ripped through (verb): went very quickly and violently into or through somebody/something; damaged or destroyed a place very quickly - ทะลุผ่าน, ระเบิด
  • satellite: an electronic device that is sent into space and moves around the earth or another planet. It is used for communicating by radio, television, etc. and for providing information - ดาวเทียม
  • slam: to hit with great force - ชนเข้าอย่างแรง
  • surge: a sudden increase in something, in this case, the flow of water - การเพิ่มขึ้นอย่างรวดเร็ว
  • sustained: continuing at the same level - ต่อเนื่อง
  • tide: the regular rise and fall of the level of the sea (the tides) - ปรากฏการณ์น้ำขึ้นน้ำลง, กระแสน้ำขึ้นน้ำลง
  • tiny: very small -
  • torrential rains (noun): extremely heavy rain - ฝนไหลเชี่ยว
  • toss: to throw something lightly or carelessly - โยน
  • trail: long line or series of marks that is left by somebody/something - ร่องรอยที่ทิ้งไว้ให้ตามได้
  • truly (adv): in the most complete, correct, or exact way - อย่างแท้จริง
  • violent: having great energy or strong movement, very strong or severe - รุนแรง
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
  • wrecked: damaged or destroyed - ถูกทำลาย
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