The calm before the storm in Miami

MIAMI, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 09, 2017) (REUTERS) – Hurricane Irma turned its fury toward the Florida Keys on Saturday (September 9)as it completed a destructive march along Cuba’s northern coast and set off an 11th hour scramble for safety by Americans who may have ignored earlier warnings to evacuate.

Amid urgent warnings from state officials to evacuate in the face of the deadly storm, downtown Miami was all but abandoned on Saturday. Sheets of rain swept through the deserted city of 400,000 people, pushing large puddles around empty streets that are usually filled with tour buses and taxi cabs.

Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, was expected to rip through Florida’s southern archipelago on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm, the second-highest designation on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Tracking models showed it then making landfall on the western side of the Florida peninsula and heading up the coast.