The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says that the massive Category 4 storm known as Hurricane Irma is tracking to strike southern Florida head-on, and will “devastate” parts of the U.S.
Some parts of Florida may even be without power for days and weeks — perhaps even months:
With Irma set to hit Florida as early as Saturday night, parts of Florida was expected to lose electricity for days, if not longer, and more than 100,000 people may need shelter, FEMA Administrator Brock Long warned at a news conference.
“Hurricane Irma continues to be a threat that is going to devastate the United States in either Florida or some of the southeastern states,” Long said.
Irma was a Category 5 hurricane, the most dangerous measure by the National Hurricane Center, before being downgraded to Category 4 early Friday after pummeling islands in the Caribbean.
The United States has experienced only three Category 5 storms since 1851 and Irma is far larger than the last one to hit the United States in 1992, Hurricane Andrew, according to Long.
Why it’s on our radar: Irma has the potential to displace a lot of people for a long time, maybe even permanently. Grid operators are also bracing for the worse, as more than 4 million people could lose power, perhaps for weeks.
This is the kind of storm that can produce major damage and comes with the potential to sow unrest. It’s not like the political climate in America isn’t already at peak tension; when you displace millions of people for what could be months or perhaps permanently and factor in the economic losses associated with such loss, that’s about as desperate as you can get. And desperation often breeds conflict, when people begin to feel like they don’t have anything else to lose.
Just something to keep in mind as the storm bears down on a heavily populated portion of our country and hundreds of thousands are crowding roads to get out of the storm’s path.