Hurricane Irma, upgraded to a powerful Category 4 storm, barrels towards the Caribbean and the southern United States with residents in its path preparing for the worst. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hurricane Irma, barreling towards the Caribbean and the southern United States, was upgraded to a powerful Category 4 storm on Monday as those in its path braced themselves. While still uncertain that Irma will hit them, residents of Miami Shores, Florida stocked up on groceries just to be safe. "I think right now it's a little bit early to tell, but it's a good time to be prepared," said Ovide Val. On Monday evening Florida declared a state of emergency. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Irma to reach southern Florida on Saturday. Hurricane advisories were issued for territories that dot the West Indies, including parts of the Leeward Islands, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in preparation for the intensifying storm that could pummel the area with life-threatening wind, storm surges and torrential rain by Tuesday evening, according to the NHC. Officials in the Dominican Republic said they were prepared for any outcome. "From this moment on, we are in a state of continuous monitoring," said Administrative Minister to the President, Jose Ramon Peralta. A Category 4 hurricane means sustained winds of 130-156 miles per hour (209-251 kph) with "catastrophic" outcomes, including uprooted trees and downed power lines, water and electricity outages, and significant property damage causing uninhabitable conditions, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.