With Tropical Storm Harvey now spent after causing havoc in Texas and Louisiana, a new storm is looming that could affect Florida and parts of the north Caribbean, posing threats to ports, shipping and offshore oil rigs.
Hurricane Irma was upgraded to a Category 4 storm on Monday and Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, as did Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello, who also activated the National Guard.
The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida, declared a hurricane watch for Puerto Rico and warnings for the Greater Antilles and some of the Leeward Islands.
Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.
Monday projections have Irma making landfall in Florida on Friday.
In other models Irma could make landfall in the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland or Delaware.
Less than a month ago Florida marked the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, the most destructive hurricane to hit the state.