Hurricane Irma, a record Category 5 storm, is seen approaching Puerto Rico in this NASA's GOES-16 satellite image taken at about 15:15 EDT on September 6, 2017. (NOAA National Weather Service National Hurricane Center/Handout via REUTERS)
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Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin and claiming at least seven lives.One of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, the dangerous Category Five hurricane was churning off the north coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, on a potential collision course with south Florida where at-risk areas were evacuated.Irma was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 295 kilometers per hour as it followed a projected path that would see it hit the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday, continuing past eastern Cuba before veering north for Florida.As of 0000 GMT, the eye of the storm was just north of Puerto Rico and the hurricane was moving west-northwest at 26 kph.Haiti's northern coast was on hurricane alert, although in the town of Cap-Haitien residents appeared mostly unaware of the impending storm.Irma was hitting the Caribbean even as two other tropical storms, Jose in the Atlantic Ocean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico, were upgraded to hurricane status.Florida Governor Rick Scott said Irma, coming barely a week after Harvey claimed some 60 lives, posed "a severe threat to the entire state".
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