Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday as Hurricane Irma strengthened into a Category 4 storm.
The hurricane, with winds of 130 mph, is approaching the northeast Caribbean.
Meteorologists believe it could cause up to 10 inches of rain and generate 23-foot waves.
Also Monday, the cash-strapped Puerto Rican government declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.
“Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has $ 15 million for the emergency fund,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello said in a statement.
But where Irma might make landfall remains a mystery.
A hurricane warning has been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Barts.
Ahead of the storm’s impact, American Airlines nixed flights out of St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Maarten slated for Tuesday and Wednesday.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra, the British and U.S. Virgin islands and Guadeloupe.
U.S. residents were urged to monitor the storm’s progress in case it turns north toward Florida, Georgia or the Carolinas.
“This hurricane has the potential to be a major event for the East Coast. It also has the potential to significantly strain FEMA and other governmental resources occurring so quickly on the heels of Harvey,” Evan Myers, chief operating officer of AccuWeather, said in a statement.
With News Wire Services