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Hurricane Irma: Larger Than Texas & Registering on Earthquake Scales

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As big as or bigger the entire state of Texas and showing up on earthquake monitors, Hurricane Irma passed through the Caribbean on Wednesday morning with record force, then taking aim at parts of the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Though the super storm’s path is still one of uncertainty, its intensity leaves little doubt with respect to impact.

Hurricane Irma: Larger Than Texas & Registering on Earthquake Scales

Photo: Facebook/Oakwood Christian Church

Hurricane Irma’s intensification over the Atlantic on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, set its winds at 185 mph with gusts of 218 mph. This is behind only that of 1980’s Hurricane Allen, topping out at 190 mph. She strengthened to a Category 5 storm but forecasts indicated that this could be downgraded to a Category 4 prior to landfall in the U.S. In comparison, Hurricane Andrew was the last storm to make American landfall as a Category 5 in 1992, leaving $26 billion in damages, surpassed only in devastating cost by Hurricane Katrina 13 years later.

Hurricane Irma: Larger Than Texas & Registering on Earthquake Scales
Photo: Facebook/NASA Goddard

There have been only three Category 5 hurricanes to hit the U.S., which include an unnamed storm in 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Defined only by wind speed of more than 157 mph, these boast an intensity which can be measured on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane strength scale. Irma is anticipated to drop 8-12 inches of rain over the Southeast Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, and portions of Cuba through Saturday. Floridians are preparing for torrential rainfall and flooding as a result. As one of the most powerful of her counterparts ever to be recorded, Hurricane Irma is one of the strongest to hit the Atlantic Ocean. Intensifying to the point where it’s beginning to register on seismometers which are used to measure earthquakes, it measures 785 miles wide (as of Tuesday night). In comparison, the state of Texas spans approximately 720 miles from the state line at Shreveport to the westernmost part of El Paso.

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