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Hurricane Irma Is Not The Only Storm Gaining Strength In The Atlantic

Hurricane Irma has now been named the strongest Atlantic storm on record, packing winds of 185 mph. As it makes landfall in the Caribbean residents scramble to evacuate while others stock up on water, food and gas.  

This Category 5 hurricane has been deemed as potentially catastrophic by the National Hurricane Center especially if it hits islands during high tides.

Islands in its path for Wednesday morning and early afternoon include St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts, and the British Virgin Islands.

It's expected to continue past the north of Puerto Rico by Wednesday evening. Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency and has activated the National Guard. Residents of the island lined up outside of hardware stores in the hopes of getting plywood, batteries and power generators. The fear is that if Irma knocks out the power, it could take weeks or even months before it is restored.

Irma is then expected to make its way to Turks and Caicos, as well as the southeastern side of the Bahamas, where storm surges of up to 20 feet above tide level could happen.

The hurricane is so strong that it has appeared on seismometers, which are used to measure earthquakes.

The storm is expected to make landfall on Florida over the weekend. Residents of the Sunshine State aren't sitting around though. Evacuations are already underway and some schools have been shut down to set up shelters.

The chaos at the pump has begun.

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"People are genuinely scared down here," said Jim Brumbaugh, who packed up his family in their RV and left Florida heading for Georgia. "... We are dead center in the state, but I'm not taking any chances. I also don't want to put my family through the misery of riding out the storm. We've done it before, and it's horrible."

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered 7,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Friday morning.

"Learn your evacuation zone. Listen to your locals," he said. "This storm has the potential to devastate this state. You have to take this seriously."

Hurricane Irma is not the only one gaining strength as it makes it's way through the Atlantic heading for US mainland by this weekend.

The 2017 Hurricane season has been forecasted to be above-average. Due to unusually warm tropical and subtropical water in the Atlantic, and limited variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the tropical eastern Pacific, it makes for a recipe for a powerful hurricane season.

Along with this, the odds of a major hurricane making landfall along the United States coastline and in the Caribbean is above-normal.

With Hurricane Harvey devastating Texas, people are rightly concerned about what the rest of the 2017 hurricane season has in store.

With a list of names in hand, we wonder which storm is going to form next. More than 60 names have been retired since 1950 because those storms resulted in significant damage or deaths.

As everyone prepares for Hurricane Irma,  there's another storm that could be a threat right behind it.

Tropical storm Jose is strengthening in the Atlantic and is likely to reach hurricane status by Wednesday night. Jose is the 10th named tropical storm this season and so far has reached maximum wind speeds of 40 mph. The National Hurricane Center predicts that Jose could turn into a category 2 hurricane by Friday and follow hot on the heels of category 5 hurricane Irma.

"The environment in which Jose is located in appears to be quite conducive for development for the next three days," said the NHC.

"By days four and five, however, the vertical shear may increase in part due to the outflow from Hurricane Irma to its west," they said. “Thus the official intensity forecast show steady intensification until day three, then remains flat through day five."

Source: CNN / Telegraph / The Old Farmer's Almanac / Express / Weather.com