70 percent of St. Maarten homes badly damaged, as Jose prepares to hit
10:02 AM, Sep 9, 2017
(AP) - The Dutch government estimates 70 percent of houses on St. Maarten were badly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. That leaves many of the 40,000 residents reliant on public shelters as they brace for Hurricane Jose.
Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said Saturday that Jose is forecast to track northwest of St. Maarten and will likely dump a lot of rain on buildings, many of which had roofs torn off by Irma.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the situation remains "grim" on the island where widespread looting has broken out.
Rutte says there are some 230 Dutch troops and police patrolling St. Maarten and a further 200 will arrive in coming days. Rutte issued a warning to looters that the troops and police will clamp down hard to end the lawlessness.
Irma continues on to Florida
Florida's governor is issuing urgent warnings to a third of his state's residents to evacuate ahead of a massive hurricane on track to be the state's most catastrophic ever.
Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see dangerous effects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday. About 6.3 million of the state's approximately 21 million residents have been asked to evacuate.
During a Saturday news conference, he told those in evacuation zones: "You need to leave -- not tonight, not in an hour, right now"
Scott said that the storm surge is expected to be up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) in some areas along the west coast of Florida. In the Tampa Bay area, Scott said the storm surge could be between 5 feet (1.5 meters) and 8 feet (2 meters).
Scott said: "This is the most catastrophic storm the state has ever seen."