By Shelby Brooks
In the past two weeks, four separate enormous hurricanes called Harvey (reached category five), Irma (also reached category five), Jose (currently category three), and Katia (currently category one) have occurred/are occurring southeast of the United States. Harvey and Irma have caused major damage to parts of Florida, Texas, Louisiana, islands off of the coast, parts of several other states, and parts of Mexico. Irma is expected to be a larger, more destructive storm than Harvey. According to The Telegraph and LA Times, the storm has already destroyed 95% of all buildings on an island in the caribbean called Barbuda, ripping the roofs off of a hospital and airport, as well as causing major damage to the roads and turning basically the entire island into rubble. At least one person, a child, living there lost their life to the storm. More than 1 million people in Puerto Rico are living without power and 20,000 are without water. Over half of their hospitals are not operational and thirty are relying on backup generators for power. There have been 127 flights cancelled, 198 road injuries caused mainly by fallen trees, and 500 pets abandoned or left behind after the hurricane. Three people have been reported dead. Several more islands around Barbuda have also been destroyed. Hurricane Jose is coming to give these islands a second round of destruction.
Much of Florida is either currently evacuating or is planning to undergo evacuation in the next few days, as are parts of several other states, as Irma is expected to be 400-miles wide- the size of Florida itself- and is likely to hit Miami at any time between Friday the eighth and Sunday the tenth and then travel east. Hurricane Katia is expected to begin to grow closer to the Gulf of Mexico Thursday night into Friday morning and become stronger, heading west, deeper into Mexico. As of now, Jose seems to only be affecting small islands east of Puerto Rico, and is not expected to hit the shores of the US.