Irma becomes first hurricane on record to keep Category 5 intensity for so long

Hurricane Irma is the first storm on record to maintain its Category 5 rating for such a long amount of time, the French weather service has said.

The record comes after the storm sustained maximum wind speeds of 185 miles per hour, becoming the only Atlantic hurricane to sustain such powerful wind speeds for so long.

The last hurricane is maintain such winds for even close to that long was hurricane Allen, which hit northern Mexico and southern Texas in 1980. Allen had winds of 180 mph and above for around 18 hours.

The top wind speed for Allen was 190 mph.

Hurricane Irma batters St Martin, destroying live webcam feed

Irma has killed at least 10 people as it continues its destructive march across the Caribbean. 

At least eight people were killed and 23 injured in French Caribbean island territories, France’s interior minister said.

Speaking on French radio France Info, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the death toll in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy could be higher because rescue teams have yet to finish their inspection of the islands. 

Irma blacked out much of Puerto Rico, raking the US territory with heavy wind and rain while staying just out to sea, and it headed toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 

To the east, authorities struggled to get aid to small Caribbean islands devastated by the storm’s record 185mph (298kph) winds, while people in Florida rushed to get ready for a possible direct hit on the Miami area. 

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