Hurricane Irma hits Cuba with highest sustained wind speeds on record

The storm has killed 24 people in the Caribbean this week, sustaining winds of 185mph for 37 hours as it marches towards Florida

9 September 2017, 9:59am
Photo: ABC News
Photo: ABC News
Hurricane Irma has struck northern Cuba as it heads towards Florida, leaving a trail of death and devastation in its wake.

The powerful Category 5 storm which had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (257.4km/h) when it made landfall on Cuba's Camaguey Archipelago yesterday, is expected to reach South Florida by tomorrow.
Millions of residents have been urged to evacuate and are now clogging the highways as they attempt to flee inland. About 5.6 million people in the state have been ordered to evacuate, Governor Rick Scott said.

Hurricane Irma sustained maximum wind speeds of over 185 mph (297.67km/h) for 37 hours, longer  than any storm on record.
The storm has killed 24 people in the Caribbean this week, and increased in power from a Category 4 to a Category 5 storm over Cuba.

"If you have been ordered to evacuate, leave now. Not tonight, not in an hour, now," Scott said Friday night. Storm surges as high as 4 metres are expected, the governor added.

The National Weather Service also urged residents to evacuate, tweeting:
"This is as real as it gets, nowhere in the Florida Keys will be safe ... you still have time to evacuate."
The Red Cross estimates that as many as 26 million people could be exposed to hurricane winds and torrential rain in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba alone.