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Hurricane Irma is a weakening tropical cyclone that recently made landfall in the U.S. state of Florida as a major hurricane,[nb 1] and was the most intense Atlantic hurricane observed in over a decade. The ninth named storm, fourth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Irma has caused widespread and catastrophic damage on its track across the Atlantic, most of which was caused in the northeastern Caribbean. It is also the most intense hurricane to strike the United States since Katrina in 2005.
Irma developed on August 30 near the Cape Verde Islands from a tropical wave that had moved off the west African coast two days prior.Under favorable conditions, Irma rapidly intensified shortly after formation, becoming a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale within a mere 24 hours. It became a Category 3 hurricane (and therefore a major hurricane) shortly afterward; however, the intensity fluctuated for the next several days due to a series of eyewall replacement cycles. On September 5, Irma became a Category 5 hurricane, and by early the next day, Irma reached peak intensity with 185 mph (295 km/h) winds and a minimum pressure of 914 mbar (914 hPa; 27.0 inHg), making it the strongest tropical cyclone worldwide in 2017 so far. After dropping to Category 3 intensity as it passed along Cuba, on September 10 the storm rose to Category 4 as it crossed warm waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys before making landfall on Cudjoe Key with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 km/h). This marked the first time on record that two Category 4 or stronger hurricanes made landfall in the U.S. in the same year; Hurricane Harvey, also with 130 mph (215 km/h) winds, made landfall in Texas two weeks earlier.