By Bill Chapppell and Scott Neuman
Hurricane Irma slammed through the Turks and Caicos Islands en route to a destructive encounter with Florida this weekend. Although the storm has been downgraded slightly, it remains a massively powerful and “extremely dangerous” system, forecasters say.
The extent of the damage to the low-lying Turks and Caicos island chain, located just east of the Bahamas, was not immediately known. Winds at the top end of the hurricane scale and waves as high as 20 feet had been forecast; tropical-force winds will keep hitting the islands through Friday morning.
The National Hurricane Center downgraded Irma a notch from the highest Category 5 ranking to Category 4 in its latest bulletin at 8 a.m. ET. Winds that screamed through the Caribbean at up to 185 mph, turning houses into piles of debris and killing at least 14 people, had fallen to 150 mph, the NHC said.
Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.