Hurricane Irma is lashing Haiti and the Dominican Republic with fierce winds and heavy rain, but thankfully appears to be sparing them a direct hit.
Forecasters say Irma's eye will pass between Hispanola — the island shared by the two nations — and the Turks and Caicos Islands late Thursday before its next target: Cuba and the Bahamas.
The forecasters are still calling Irma an "extremely dangerous" Category 5 storm, with top sustained winds of 280 kilometers per hour.
Irma is blasting through the Caribbean, leaving a path of destruction.View full gallery
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.
U.S. 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 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.
WATCH: Officials Urge Evacuations Before Hurricane Hits Southeastern US States
Meanwhile in Florida, residents who say they have seen it all and experienced everything are not taking any chances with Hurricane Irma.
Forecasters say the southeastern U.S. state is in line for a direct hit from what will likely be a by-then Category 4 storm on Saturday. Governor Rick Scott has spent the last few days repeating three words: "Get out now."
Scott warned residents and tourists not to ignore mandatory evacuation orders. "We cannot save you once the storm hits," he stressed.
Hundreds of thousands of people are leaving and Scott said the biggest concern right now is gasoline shortages. Three fuel tankers were unloading supplies Thursday at the Port of Tampa, and police will escort fuel trucks as they make their deliveries to gas stations that have run dry.
Scott said all 7,000 Florida National Guard members will be deployed Friday and thousands of power workers will be standing by, ready to go to work.
The governor has even reached out to all hotels to waive policies against allowing cats and dogs.
Scott said the entire state is at risk from Irma, including both Atlantic and Gulf coasts. He said the storm surge, predicted to be as high as 3 meters in some spots, can flood entire coastal towns and will be worse than the rain.
Hurricane Irma is already a storm for the history books. Experts are calling it the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded.
Hurricanes need tropical moisture for fuel and Irma's strength is coming from the unusually warm Atlantic waters.
About 1.2 million people have already been victimized by Irma, and the Red Cross said Thursday that number could exceed 26 million.
The United Nations Children's Fund said about 10.5 million children live in Caribbean countries struck by Irma. Many of them are younger than 5.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved more than $15 billion in disaster aid, including for the cleanup in southeastern Texas from last month's Hurricane Harvey.
The House passed an $8 billion bill Wednesday. A final bill is expected to be ready by the end of the week.
In addition to Irma and Jose, another storm, Hurricane Katia, is in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane warnings are out for parts of Mexico's Veracruz state.
Katia was a Category 1 storm Thursday afternoon, but forecasters said it could strengthen into a major storm before making landfall.
VOA's Kenneth Schwartz, Wayne Lee and Chris Hannas contributed to this report.