As if the US hasn't suffered enough over the past week, there are concerns that yet another nightmarish storm could slam into it within hours. Hurricane Irma is now a Category 4 storm, churning across the Atlantic packing Maximum Sustained Winds of up 120 mph. It is still uncertain whether Irma will make direct landfall in the United States. But forecasters are warning that it is growing in strength and anything is possible.

Hurricane Irma threatens to cause potential damage

The National Hurricane Center is urging those along the U.S. East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, to stay on alert, to keep monitoring the storm and to ensure that they have their hurricane plans in place, along with disaster preparedness kits.

The Leeward Islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis have now been placed under Hurricane watch. The National Hurricane Center also warns that within a few hours, additional watches may come into effect for Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Hispaniola and the British and US Virgin Islands.

The intensity of Irma is terrifying, especially given the fact that it formed in the far eastern Atlantic near the Cape Verde islands. Other such storms which began in that area went on to become particularly disastrous, including Hurricanes Hugo (1989), Floyd (1999) and Ivan (2004). All three wreaked havoc separately in America and/or the Bahamas and the Leeward Islands, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Irma is currently moving west-south-westward with its center based about 610 miles east of the Leeward Islands. The National Hurricane Center warns that oceanic heat, coupled with mid level moisture and wind shear, will ensure that it remains an increasingly dangerous Hurricane.

An active tropical storm season

It has definitely been an active tropical storm season with damage recorded over the weekend in Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula.

Storm Lidia claimed the lives of four people in the Los Cabos area. Several airlines suspended flights to the area, and approximately 20,000 tourists were left stranded. Emergency crews are still surveying the damage and the death toll is expected to rise. Americans are also still reeling from the devastation brought home by Hurricane Harvey that all but decimated Texas.

It wasn’t the first time, however, that the state was nearly destroyed. Another powerful storm in 1900, the Galveston Hurricane, killed more than 11,000 people. The Category 4 Hurricane, pushing winds of up to 135 miles per hour, also destroyed about 3,600 homes.

There are now concerns that the intensity and frequency of hurricanes and similar destroyers will increase, given the problem of global warming. Another worry is that of the divide between the rich and the poor. Areas unable to adapt to infrastructural improvement will face the sheer brunt of natural disasters including cyclones and storms. Unfortunately, those likely to remain stuck there are folks who do not have the resources to leave. The wealthy, however, will always have options.