Hurricane Irma has officially strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane as it tracks its way toward the Caribbean with wind speeds of up to 130 mph. The hurricane, which is said to reach Florida and Puerto Rico, is expected to grow stronger in the next two days.

Possible impact

Hurricane hunters have been providing valuable data to improve storm forecasts, and it seems that the immediate track of the storm seems grounded in making a U.S. landfall, considering that a high-pressure area is in place over the central Atlantic, preventing the storm from escaping out to sea.

While the storm is projected to deliver a 2 to 40-foot surge in Puerto Rico’s northern coast, it is said to deliver a 1 to 2-foot water surge for the southern coast, the U.S Virgin Island St. Croix. The rest of the Virgin Islands, as well as the British Virgin Islands, are also looking at a 4 to 6-foot storm surge.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency last Monday. Along with it, he also activated the National Guard, canceled schools, and freed up to $15 million in emergency funds for the island.

Florida state of emergency

The forecast of the hurricane is also said to impact the U.S. coast early next week, although meteorologists don’t know where it will make landfall.

Florida and the Gulf Coast are still at risk, leading Governor Rick Scott to follow in Rossello’s footsteps and declare a state of emergency in Florida on Monday afternoon as Irma strengthened into a Category 4 storm.

In his official statement, the Governor noted that he called for the state of emergency to ascertain that the local, state, and federal governments could work together in dispersing the proper resources to prepare for the storm.

He also stated that Florida is always prepared for the worst, especially now that Irma’s path is not known, adding that the state of emergency allows for management officials to act fast, especially in addressing the best interest of Florida’s citizens.

For their part, Florida residents seem to be listening to the storm predictions, with social media posts showing supermarket shelves being emptied out in places such as Naples, South Florida, and Temple Terrace outside Tampa, as shoppers stock on necessities that could help them survive the storm.

People seem to be more vigilant as Hurricane Harvey only recently devastated Texas, which displaced tens and thousands of people, and led to the death of at least 45 persons across six counties.