These photos show how Hurricane Irma has trashed the Caribbean — and it's heading for Florida next

Hurricane Irma has spent the past day and a half wreaking havoc in the Caribbean. Irma is now a Category 4 storm, having downgraded from Category 5, the strongest possible designation. It featured wind speeds of up to 185 mph.

At least 14 people have died in the storm, dozens are injured, and thousands have been left homeless.

It has ravaged five countries in the region and is headed for more. Ultimately the storm will hit the US, with Florida and Georgia braced for a battering.

Check it out below:

Hurricane Irma rocks the Caribbean
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Hurricane Irma rocks the Caribbean

Hurricane Irma first hit Barbuda, a tiny Caribbean island. It was said to be more than 90% destroyed by the storm, with some of the damage evident in these local TV images.

Photo Credit: ABC News

Photo Credit: ABC News

Photo Credit: ABC News

The winds were able to mangle this metal broadcast tower.

Photo Credit: ABC News

Antigua, Barbbuda's sister island, was hit at a similar time. Flooding blocked many roads as seen in this photo. 

"Climate change is real in the Caribbean we are living with the consequences of climate change," Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Barbuda and Antigua, told the BBC Radio 4's "Today" programme, as cited by the Guardian. It is unfortunate that there are some who see it differently."

(GEMMA HANDY/AFP/Getty Images)

St. Martin, one of the Leeward Islands, was next in Irma's path, and it was likewise devastated.

Then came the British Virgin Islands. This video shows the "eye wall" — the most intense part of the storm — striking land.

 Unmute the video to hear the intense sound of wind.

After that the storm approached the US territory of Puerto Rico.

The island is larger and had a lot more photographers than the others, so there are more pictures of the storm in action.

 (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

The winds knocked down trees.

REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Waves battered ships that couldn't be brought back to port in time.

 REUTERS/Alvin Baez

The winds made it tough to walk.

REUTERS/Alvin Baez

As night fell, the island flooded.

(Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

Rescuers checked flooded cars in case anybody had not managed to escape.

 (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

No deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico so far.

 (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

Irma proceeded toward the northern coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

 Unmute the video above to listen to the strength of the rainfall.

A home was flattened to a pile in Nagua, a city in the north east of the island.

REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

Tree trunks also lay among the debris.

 REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas

Further west on the island, a stadium lighting tower toppled over in Puerto Plata, a beach city on the Dominican Republic's northern coast.

 REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

An entire metal roof fell off onto the city's streets.

 REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Haiti, which is to the west of the Dominican Republic, was also hit. These palm trees in Cap-Haitien, a port city on Haiti's north coast, shows the wind's strength.

 REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Streets were flooded.

 REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

The hurricane then moved onto the Turks and Caicos islands.

This video shows the scale of the flooding.

Residents should continue to expect wind, storms, and rain on the islands through Saturday, the National Hurricane Center warned on Friday.

As of early Friday morning local time, Irma's death toll was 14, according to Reuters.

Lonnie Soury, a spokesman for the US Virgin Islands, said the death toll was expected to rise, the Guardian reported.

 (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

Despite the obvious devastation, there were moments of beauty in the storm as well.

This photo was captured by US Air Force "Hurricane Hunter" planes, which fly into storms to collect the data that informs forecasts and emergency responses on the ground.​​​​​​​

Irma has begun to move through the south east of the Bahamas, Reuters reported. Cuba and Florida are next. Here is the National Hurricane Center's latest prediction map:

Detainees in Cuba's Guantánamo Bay maximum security prison will not be evacuated, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense, told Newsweek. Residents of the base will also be expected to "stay put and ride out the storm," the Miami Herald quoted another Pentagon spokesman as saying.

There is a chance that Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina may feel Irma's wrath as well, but it remains too early for specifics, the National Hurricane Center said on Friday.

It also downgraded Irma from a Category 5 to a Category 4 hurricane, but warned that two neighbouring hurricanes — Jose and Katia — have gained strength.

Some businesses in Florida have prepared for Irma's arrival by boarding up their windows.

Here, a man in North Miami Beach walks past a still-open business, which had boarded up its storefront with plywood.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri


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