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Hurricane Irma has strengthened to a Category 5 storm, and catastrophic damage is possible in the Florida Keys and southern Florida this weekend as a second storm has formed behind it.
Irma was packing 185 mph winds and gusts of more than 200 mph as of 2 a.m. ET Wednesday, and is expected to continue churning with deadly hurricane-force winds and a dangerous storm surge across a wide swath of the Caribbean this week before moving toward southern Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm ever recorded, utterly devastated many islands in the Northern Caribbean and today hundreds of thousands of people are without shelter and basic amenities.
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The dangerous storm made landfall in Barbuda around 2 a.m. on Wednesday and is moving west-northwest at 15 mph. Hurricane watches and warnings have been issued across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Cuba and the Leeward Islands.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose has formed over the open Atlantic, following closely behind Irma, the NHC said Tuesday. Jose could become a Category 2 hurricane as it brushes the northeastern-most Caribbean islands at the end of the week. However, Jose poses no threat to the U.S. or Puerto Rico as of Tuesday. The NHC warned that residents in the Leeward Islands, already expected to face Irma, "should monitor the track" of Jose.