mmering, drilling, and stocking up in Puerto Rico as residents here brace for Hurricane Irma to barrel their way. The National Hurricane Center designating it a category 5 hurricane, and saying Irma was the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded outside the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
Reuters reporter Scott Malone is there.>> You can see work crews everywhere putting up shutters on windows, in some cases plywood, in some cases actually corrugated metal. Several tourists that I spoke to said that they were quite concerned about being here. I interviewed a woman from Texas who had gotten off a plane this morning and said that she really was trying to turn around and go home, and if not, find a more secure hotel than the place she was staying.
Another business owner I spoke to said that he'd spent the day securing the store. He'd put up some of those metal shutters. He'd gotten most of the inventory off the floor, wrapped the electronics in plastics, but even so he was worried. He hadn't seen a storm of this magnitude.
>> The storm packed winds of 185 miles per hour on Tuesday afternoon, as it headed toward the Caribbean and Southern United States. Irma's eye was forecast across the Northern Leeward Islands east of Puerto Rico on Tuesday night or early Wednesday. A state of emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico and Florida, and some evacuations have been ordered in advance.
In Florida, residents are also lining up at stores to secure drinking water and other vital essentials. Miami Beach has sandbags for residents bracing for the rain. The NFL is also gearing up for the storm, saying the Miami Dolphins will not play its season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday, due to the potential impact of Hurricane Irma.
Irma is expected to reach southern Florida on Saturday.