FLORIDA — People in Florida and Puerto Rico are preparing for a possible direct hit from Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, which made its first landfall in Barbuda Wednesday morning before passing over St. Martin.
The eye of the Category 5 hurricane passed through Barbuda around 1:47 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Anxiety and anticipation of the unknown have worried many in Puerto Rico, neighboring islands, and Florida.
Gov. Scott said Irma is bigger and stronger than Hurricane Andrew, which hit the state in 1992. He also suggests everyone refills prescriptions and gather supplies by Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said additional evacuations are coming ahead of Hurricane Irma, the powerful Category 5 storm slamming the Caribbean. "If you're told to evacuate, get out quickly," Scott said Wednesday morning. "We can expect additional evacuations as this storm continues to come near our state. Everyone must listen to their local officials." He added: "Every Floridian should take this seriously and be aggressive to protect their family."
Gov. Scott also ordered a 1,000 National Guard troops to report for duty by Wednesday night, with the remaining 6,000 report for duty no later than Friday morning.
People living in Puerto Rico are “genuinely scared” of this storm, in particular due to its size and strength, and many have stocked up on wood and supplies needed.
“Everyone’s worried. We’ve never had a storm this big,” said Puerto Rico resident Scott Sanchez.
Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rossello declared a state of emergency on Monday.
“It’s hard to be ready, but we’re certainly prepared,” said Rossello. “We enacted first protocol starting a week before hit landfall, so we’re confident that we’re doing everything we can to make sure people are safe.”
Officials are encouraging everyone to go to evacuation centers around the island.
In Florida, hospitals in the Keys evacuated Wednesday, and more evacuations are expected and the state prepares for a possible direct hit from the storm later this week.
“We are expecting additional evacuation orders as this storm nears our state. EVERYONE should be following the direction of local officials,” Gov. Rick Scott tweeted.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio also tweeted updates on Irma’s projected path and landfall, in an effort to make sure people are prepared for the storm.
“What are your plans for shelter during storm? Do you have food and water for 3 days? Do you have the medicine you needed?” he tweeted.
Irma is expected to hit Puerto Rico Wednesday, although it remains unknown if its path will move directly over the island or move alongside it.
The hurricane is projected to make landfall in Florida Sunday.
CNN contributed to this report.