Magnitude 8.1 Earthquake in Southern Mexico Triggers Small Tsunami
At least three people are dead following an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in southern Mexico that toppled houses in Chiapas state. The quake also triggered a small 0.7-meter tsunami.
Rodrigo Soberanes, who lives near San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, told the Associated Press that his "house moved like chewing gum."
Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco said in a televised interview that "Homes, schools and hospitals have been affected" by earthquake damage.
The quake was felt as far away as Mexico City and Guatemala City. Residents of the Mexican capital fled into the streets, many in their pajamas, for fear buildings would collapse.
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System said the earthquake was a potential tsunami threat to several Central American countries, including the Pacific coastlines of Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador and Costa Rica. It said the threat was still being evaluated for Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific islands.
The quake was centered 120 kilometers southwest of Tres Picos, Mexico. Tres Picos is about 1,000 kilometers southeast of Mexico City.
Hurricane Warning Issued for Florida
Hurricane Irma is barreling towards Florida after raining down death and destruction on the Caribbean.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center has issued hurricane warnings for South Florida and the Florida Keys.
The weather forecasters say some fluctuations in intensity are likely in the category 5 hurricane, but predict the storm will remain a "powerful category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next couple of days."
On Thursday, more than half a million people were ordered to leave South Florida as Irma approaches.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said the biggest concern right now is gasoline shortages. Police will escort fuel trucks in Florida as they make deliveries to gas stations that have run dry.
Scott said all 7,000 Florida National Guard members are being deployed Friday and thousands of power workers will be standing by, ready to go to work.
The storm tore up the island of Barbuda, leaving it "barely habitable," according to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
"What I saw was heart-wrenching. I mean, absolutely devastating," he said Thursday. About 95 percent of all the buildings on the island were either destroyed or damaged.
As if Irma has not brought enough agony to Antigua and Barbuda, the islands are under a hurricane watch for Category 3 Hurricane Jose, which could affect the already devastated region by Saturday.
On the island of St. Martin, shared by France and the Netherlands, "lots of people are just wandering around aimlessly as they have no homes anymore and don't know what to do," a newspaper reporter told the local radio station.
It could be up to six months before all power is restored on cash-strapped Puerto Rico. Witnesses say wires are either lying in the streets or dangling from the poles that managed to stay upright.
President Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency on Puerto Rico. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will coordinate the cleanup and relief.
French and Dutch relief flights are on the way to help their territories, and British Prime Minister Teresa May has sent a Royal Navy shipload of soldiers, Marines and emergency supplies to British territories in the Caribbean.
At least 10 deaths have been reported so far in the Caribbean.