A picture taken on September 7, 2017 shows inhabitants of the Sandy town neighborhood clearing off wreckages in a street in Marigot on the French Carribean island of Saint-Martin, after the passage of Hurricane Irma. / AFP / Lionel CHAMOISEAU
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Florida's highways were jammed Friday with families fleeing their homes as Hurricane Irma honed in on the Sunshine State after it reduced island resorts to rubble and killed at least 17 people across the Caribbean.Bumper-to-bumper traffic snaked north out of the peninsula, with mattresses, gas cans and kayaks strapped to car roofs, as residents heeded increasingly insistent warnings to get out and Florida's governor said all of the state's 20.6 million inhabitants should be prepared to evacuate.Irma was downgraded overnight from a rare Category 5 storm to a still-deadly Category 4, and continued to pack extremely dangerous winds of 240 kilometers per hour.According to the latest trajectory from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, Irma is expected to strike the Florida Keys late Saturday before moving inland.Even as Irma barreled toward Florida, meteorologists were closely monitoring two other hurricanes: Jose, a Category 4 storm following Irma's path in the Atlantic, and Katia, set to reach Mexico Friday.Another four people were killed on the U.S. Virgin Islands, with a number of badly injured people airlifted to Puerto Rico.
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