Irma 'extremely dangerous' Category 5 hurricane

2017-09-05 18:30
A satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Irma nearing the eastern Caribbean.  (NOAA via AP)

A satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Irma nearing the eastern Caribbean. (NOAA via AP)

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Miami - Irma picked up strength and has become an "extremely dangerous" Category Five hurricane as it approached the Caribbean on Tuesday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre reported.

"Preparations should be rushed to completion in the hurricane warning area," the NHC said in its 12:00 GMT bulletin.

The monster hurricane, the most powerful of the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale, is about 440km east of the island of Antigua packing maximum sustained winds of 280km/h. 

Irma is expected to make landfall along the string of French islands that includes Guadeloupe late on Tuesday before heading to Haiti and Florida.

The storm was moving towards the west at 22km per hour, and is expected to drop between 10- and 20cm of rain when it hits land.

"These rainfall amounts may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC warned.

The storm is also is expected to "cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions".

Irma, which has triggered alarm and alerts from the French West Indies to Florida, comes after of Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana late last month.

Read more on:    us  |  weather  |  hurricanes  |  floods

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