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Hurricane Irma a Category 5 Storm. Last Time One Hit the US? 1992's Andrew

Image: Hurricane Irma a Category 5 Storm. Last Time One Hit the US? 1992's Andrew

This Aug. 25, 1992, file photo shows the water tower, a landmark in Florida City, Fla. still standing over the ruins of the Florida coastal community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew. Several days after it almost dissipated, Andrew rapidly strengthened and was a Category 4 storm at landfall in Homestead, Florida. (AP Photo, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 05 September 2017 02:38 PM

Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm and appears to be heading toward Florida, much like the last Category 5 storm to make landfall in the U.S., Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Irma was over the Atlantic about 225 miles east of Antigua Tuesday morning, moving west toward Florida with winds of 180 miles per hour. It has become the strongest hurricane in history outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and it is expected to hit Florida’s southern coast over the weekend.

The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday that Irma could intensify even more, and it is expected to remain at least a Category 4 for the next several days.

In the storm’s path are Puerto Rico, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the southeastern Bahamas, and possibly Florida, although the National Hurricane Center said it is still too early to determine Irma's impact or strength if and when it reaches the U.S.

Puerto Rico and Florida have already declared states of emergency ahead of the storm, and residents of Florida are already making preparations including stocking up on supplies such as bottled water and boarding up windows to protect them from the storm.

The last Category 5 storm to hit the U.S. mainland was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew killed 40 people when it hit Florida (65 total internationally), and it left 1.3 million Florida households without power in its wake. It was the most destructive storm ever to hit Florida, which sustained $26.5 billion in damage from the storm.

Nearly 700,000 people evacuated the area during Hurricane Andrew, and cleanup from the storm took many years. 

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Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm and appears to be heading toward Florida, much like the last Category 5 storm to make landfall in the U.S., Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
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2017-38-05
Tuesday, 05 September 2017 02:38 PM
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