Stuff that matters


Hurricane Irma flattens homes and causes power outages in the Caribbean.

The deadly storm, the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic, caused devastation throughout the eastern Caribbean on Wednesday and Thursday.

On the tiny island of Barbuda — where the hurricane first made landfall — cell towers snapped under the force of 185-mile per hour winds, cutting off communication.

Barbuda is “literally rubble,” said Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, after observing the damage. He reported that 90 percent of buildings were destroyed and 50 percent of the island’s 1,600 people were homeless.

Incredibly, Barbuda is already under another hurricane watch: Jose, upgraded to a Category 2 on Thursday, is heading its way.

Irma also flattened 95 percent of the northern half of the island of St. Martin, according to a local official. The Caribbean region reported 13 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.

More images from around the islands:

In the Dominican Republic, people look at what remains of their home as Hurricane Irma moves away. REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

Irma is headed near the Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba, and the Bahamas next. People in coastal parts of Florida and the Keys are evacuating in preparation.