A picture taken on September 5, 2017 shows a view of the Baie Nettle beach in Marigot, with the wind blowing ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma. / AFP / Lionel CHAMOISEAU
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The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean early Wednesday, churning along a path pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.The Category 5 storm also knocked out communication between islands.The storm had maximum sustained winds of 295 kph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.Hurricane Allen hit 190 mph in 1980, while 2005's Wilma, 1988's Gilbert and a 1935 great Florida Keys storm all had 185 mph winds.The National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma's magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, which killed a total of 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.The National Hurricane Center in Miami said hurricane-force winds extended 50 miles (85 kilometers) from Irma's center and tropical storm-force winds extended 280 kilometers.A third tropical storm farther east in the Atlantic was expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night.The storm was centered about 2,020 kilometers east of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west near 20 kph.
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