WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump declared states of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma, the White House said in multiple statements.
"Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that an emergency exists in the State of Florida and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irma beginning on September 4, 2017, and continuing," one of the three statements said on Tuesday.
The states of emergency for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands begin on September 5, the White House said in separate statements.
On the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the US state of Texas as a Category 4 storm last week in one of the costliest natural disasters in US history, Irma was upgraded to a Category 5 storm on Tuesday with winds in excess of 180 miles per hour.
Irma is already the strongest hurricane ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and it is likely to make landfall somewhere in Florida later this week, according to forecasts.