Hurricane Irma is being called a “potentially catastrophic” category 5 storm by the U.S National Hurricane Center with maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h as it bears down on the eastern Caribbean.
The core of Irma is expected to move across the northern Leeward Islands overnight and will track close to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by late Wednesday and the Dominican Republic by Thursday.
A hurricane watch has also been issued for eastern Cuba along with northern Haiti, southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos.
Forecasters say Irma is increasingly likely to target Florida (now under a state of emergency) and parts of the American Southeast as a dangerous hurricane this weekend.
Flooding after Hurricane Matthew in Charleston, SC, USA, 08 Oct 2016 (Getty Images)
The U.S. National Hurricane Center finally downgraded Matthew to a post-tropical cyclone today after pounding North and South Carolina with strong winds, heavy rain and record flooding before moving east out to sea.
Matthew made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina yesterday as a category 1 hurricane after hugging Florida’s Atlantic coast.
Hundreds had to be rescued from floodwaters in the Carolinas including one woman who was forced to cling to a tree overnight before emergency workers arrived.
The most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade has claimed at least 20 deaths in the Southeastern United States and more than 900 in the Caribbean, mostly in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew passes over Les Cayes, Haiti, 04 Oct 2016 (Reuters)
Hundreds of thousands of Florida residents along its east coast from Fort Lauderdale to Cape Canaveral have been told to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Matthew.
The powerful category 3 storm is churning through the Bahamas after a brush with eastern Cuba and has maximum sustained winds at 185 km/h.
Floods and mudslides from the storm in Haiti and the Dominican Republic have claimed more than 800 lives.
The U.S National Hurricane Center believes by early Friday, Matthew will track parallel to the Atlantic coast from Florida to the Carolinas and is not certain yet if the storm will hit land.
The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the United States was Wilma in 2005 which was blamed for 35 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre doesn’t believe Matthew will have any significant impact on Atlantic Canada.
One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history, Matthew is swirling in the Caribbean with Haiti in its direct path.
The category 4 storm with sustained winds of 220 km/h and heavy rains causing flooding have forced thousands in Haiti and Jamaica to emergency shelters.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Matthew may lose some steam as it moves across Haiti, eastern Cuba and the Bahamas.
Forecasters currently believe Matthew will remain close to Florida and offshore to the east but caution its path could change.
Flooding in Laplace, Louisiana, USA from Hurricane Isaac, 30 August 2012 (Times-Picuyne)
Louisiana got the worst of Hurricane Isaac with howling wind and heavy rain but New Orleans was mostly spared on the seventh anniversary of Katrina.
Isaac stalled for several hours before resuming a slow trek inland as a tropical storm.
The slow motion over land meant Isaac was a major soaker dumping up to 500 millimetres of rain in some areas.
Only one death was reported from the storm in the United States but at least 24 were killed in Haiti.