Millions of people in Florida have been ordered to evacuate their homes and many more are voluntarily leaving the state as the category five Hurricane Irma threatens to devastate the area.
After leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, the storm hit Cuba on Saturday, and is now heading north.
Highways across Florida quickly became clogged with motorists trying to escape the storm’s path.
In a televised address, US President Donald Trump said: “This is a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential. I ask everyone in the storm’s path to be vigilant and to heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our people.”
LINCOLN ROAD. Ready for #irma Esto es F🌴☀️rid🌺#weather #vivelaflorida— Vive La Florida (@vive_la_florida) 9 September 2017
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Trump’s words were echoed by the Mayor of Miami Beach Philip Levine, who said: “We won’t be able to rescue people, we won’t be able to help people. We want people to know now, you need to leave Miami Beach.
Florida’s Palm Beach county has said it will impose a curfew from 3pm Saturday, ahead of the arrival of tropical storm-force winds.
Parts of Florida are expected to be without power for days after Irma, which is twice as large as Hurricane Andrew which devastated the region in 1992, makes landfall in the continental US.
Andrew caused some $35 million worth of damage, but today a storm of that intensity could result in over $100 billion worth of damage.
The Sunshine State will soon be overshadowed by the enormous storm that has already claimed at least 21 lives, and affected some 1.2 million people.