While there are certainly a large number of hardy Floridians who are balking at the thought of Hurricane Irma, new data shows that the storm is nothing to snicker at.
At this time, Irma is currently battering the Caribbean as a category 5 storm, and is likely the most powerful Atlantic storm in history. Not only is this hurricane more powerful than Hurricane Harvey that smashed into Texas just days ago, but it dwarfs Harvey in size as well. Conservative estimate put Irma’s circumference at a size large enough to engulf the entire state of Florida, and, according to meteorologists, that is exactly what Irma is looking to do.
Mandatory evacuations have been issued for the southernmost parts of the state, including the Florida Keys starting today.
As of Wednesday afternoon, another terrifying fact about this monster storm has emerged: Irma is so powerful that it is registering on seismic equipment normally used to detect earthquakes.
“Hurricane Irma is so strong it’s showing up on seismometers — equipment designed to measure earthquakes.
“‘What we’re seeing in the seismogram are low-pitched hums that gradually become stronger as the hurricane gets closer to the seismometer on the island of Guadeloupe,’ said Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.
“The noise is likely caused by high winds — which cause tiny motions in the ground — and also by trees swaying in the wind, which also transfers energy into the ground, he said. The seismometer is located close to the ocean, so waves crashing along the coastline reverberate around the island, also generating seismic energy, Hicks added.”
For those looking to ride out the storm, Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued a stern warning against such frivolity.
Irma could be the 4th ever category five storm to make landfall within the United States, and dwarfs the destructive power of Hurricane Andrew by huge margins. Andrew, which is one of the most devastating storms of all time left over 100 hundred dead and created nearly $50 billion in damages when it struck Florida in the early 1990’s.
By all accounts, Irma could make Andrew look like a misting.