>> Hurricane Irma a tragic equalizer through several Caribbean Islands destroying modest homes and posh hotels alike, the Turks and Caicos the latest to take a battering. A Reuters witness describing a drop in pressure felt in people's chests. The storm downgraded to Category 4 Friday, but still packing winds as strong as 155 miles per hour, leaving at least 14 people dead.
Twenty foot storm surges expected in the Bahamas before Irma moves to Cuba, which has evacuated thousands of tourists, and then slamming into southern Florida on Sunday. But as airports and roads clogged with evacuees, some Florida passengers are actually going the other way heading into what may be the eye of the storm, says Reuters reporter Andy Sullivan in Miami.
>> This is the first big test for South Florida since Hurricane Andrew hit here way back in 1992 and officials are saying that the tougher building standards they've put in place since then should help the region weather the storm. That's a view shared by several people I spoke to, who were actually flying into Miami to help loved ones, and pets, ride out the storm.
They're saying that they live in newer houses made out of concrete with metal reinforcement, that should keep them safe, they say.>> In Palm Beach, the waterfront Mara Lago estate owned by US President Donald Trump was ordered evacuated. Trump also owns property on the French side of Saint Martin, an island decimated by the storm.
A mandatory evacuation of Georgia's coast is due to begin Saturday, Governor Nathan Deal said. Irma is the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Shocked Caribbean residents trying to comprehend the damage and simultaneously prepare for hurricane Jose, now a Category 3 storm due in the Northeastern Caribbean on Saturday.