Trump declares emergencies as Hurricane Irma approaches

Devastation is feared in the northeastern islands of the Caribbean, where Category 5 Hurricane Irma is bearing down.

CNN reported shortly before: "Late Tuesday, the massive Category 5 storm was nearly upon islands like Antigua and Barbuda with near-record 185 miles per hour sustained winds".

If Irma takes a track along the East Coast, North Carolina and the Piedmont would face the brunt of the storm next Monday and Tuesday, said Kathleen Carroll, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Raleigh.

"You are fantastic! Thank you so much for what you are doing to help people on the ground". Trump signed the declaration Tuesday night.

Radar images of Hurricane Irma around the time it made landfall over Barbuda.

The southeast Bahamas, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos are now under a hurricane watch.

Hurricane Hunters from NOAA and the U.S. Air Force Reserves also capture images from within the storm.

Highlighting the storm's potentially devastating impact, the NHC said Irma is the most powerful Atlantic storm produced outside the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico in recorded history.

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The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Jose, which formed in the Atlantic on Tuesday, is expected to become a hurricane on Wednesday.

If we took the same scale and extended it to include a Category 6, a storm of that magnitude would likely have winds greater than 177 miles per hour, easily covering Irma's current wind speeds.

The most risky winds are forecast to pass near the northern Virgin Islands and near or just north of Puerto Rico during the day on Wednesday.

"The chance of direct impacts from Irma beginning later this week and this weekend from wind, storm surge, and rainfall continues to increase in the Florida Keys and portions of the Florida Peninsula", said Pasch. "Hurricane Irma's impacts on the USA mainland may start to be felt at the end of the week, but it is not too early to start to make preparations".

"If there is an evacuation order, follow it", Scott said Tuesday evening.

The storm bought fierce winds, surf and rain to the Leeward Islands on Wednesday. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

Here's a look at how people across the region were preparing to face the monster storm.

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