FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. ― One of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes of all time barreled through the Caribbean and made landfall on Wednesday, less than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey first hit Texas.
Meanwhile, two other storms ― Jose and Katia ― were upgraded to hurricane status on Wednesday afternoon, marking the first time since 2010 that three hurricanes were simultaneously spinning in the Atlantic.
The storm made landfall in Barbuda around 2 a.m. on Wednesday, reportedly causing at least one death and battering the nearby island of Antigua with heavy rains and wind before heading toward St. Martin.
Gaston Browne, the prime minister of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, said the storm left Barbuda “barely habitable” and may have caused $150 million in damages on the island.
Irma then ripped through the Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon and went just north of the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, pummeling both areas with heavy rains while still packing 185 mph winds.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday evening that there will be “victims to lament” after Irma battered the French Caribbean Islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, where at least two people reportedly died in the storm.
Irma is the strongest hurricane to hit the Atlantic Ocean, not including the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico. Those areas are more prone to cyclones because the waters are warmer, The Associated Press noted.
The governors of Puerto Rico and Florida declared states of emergency on Monday, ahead of the storm. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster followed suit Wednesday, and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for six coastal counties later that afternoon. President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved emergency declarations for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.