Parts of Florida are being evacuated and officials are warning that hurricane Irma will “devastate the United States”.
Currently a category four storm, Irma has already hit a series of islands in the north-east Caribbean, including Barbuda, the British and US Virgin Islands, and the French St Martin and St Barthelemey islands.
The storm is being predicted to hit Florida as a category five storm, and has had winds peaking around 300km/h.
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a dire warning for people in the evacuation zones to leave.
“We are running out of time. If you are in an evacuation zone, you need to go now,” he said.
Weather Channel senior hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross, a hurricane Andrew veteran who broadcast for a marathon 23-hours to provide many people with vital information, believes this Irma will be worse.
“The effect of Irma on the state of Florida is going to be much greater than Andrew’s effect,” he said.
“We’re dealing with an entirely different level of phenomenon. There is no storm to compare with this. Unless you go way back to 1926.”
The path of hurricane Irma looks like it will hit the southern tip of Florida, before moving north through the rest of the state.
There are fears that even though building codes were updated for hurricane Andrew, with the potential for winds at 298km/h, they may not be able to withstand the storm.
With winds of 265km/h Andrew damaged or destroyed more than 125,000 homes, as well as nearly all the mobile homes in its path.