Hurricane Irma passed over the island of St. Martin on Wednesday morning as Floridians prepared for the worst ahead of the storm.

As of 8 a.m. ET, the monster Category 5 storm's eye wall was butting up against Anguilla with sustained winds of 185 mph and even higher gusts.

Hurricane Irma as seen on satellite imagery on the morning of Sept. 6, 2017.
Hurricane Irma as seen on satellite imagery on the morning of Sept. 6, 2017.

Going forward, the hurricane is forecast to move north of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this afternoon, unleashing strong winds and heavy rain but not directly hitting the islands. By Sunday morning, Irma will be approaching mainland Florida and the Florida Keys.

The forecast path for Hurricane Irma as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.
The forecast path for Hurricane Irma as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.

Hurricane Irma strengthens to Category 5 as 2nd storm forms behind it Hurricane Irma 'could be worse' than Hurricane Andrew, Florida Gov. Rick Scott warns Florida 'prepares for the worst and hopes for the best' before Hurricane Irma

Preparations are already underway in Florida, which could face "direct impacts," according to the NHC, though it's too soon to tell for sure. The official NHC path shows Irma will travel straight up the middle of the state.

But the latest computer models, which project possible paths for the storm, show Irma could move further to the east, threatening the Carolinas and the East Coast.

Mandatory evacuations have already been ordered for Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys. Evacuations for visitors are required beginning Wednesday morning while residents must evacuate starting Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Many residents of the Florida Keys didn't wait until Wednesday and instead headed out of the region Tuesday evening.

Possible paths for Hurricane Irma as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.
Possible paths for Hurricane Irma as of 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017.

So far, there are no other mandatory evacuations in Florida, but officials in Miami-Dade County advised residents in low-lying areas, including Miami Beach, to begin evacuating on Wednesday.

Some areas of Florida have already seen gas shortages, with the hashtag #nogas popping up on social media Tuesday. Long lines formed all over the state, not just in the Miami area. Stations in the Tampa area have run out and long lines were common at Orlando stations as well.

PHOTO: People wait in line to purchase plywood at The Home Depot as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Sept. 6, 2017, in Miami.
People wait in line to purchase plywood at The Home Depot as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Sept. 6, 2017, in Miami.
PHOTO: Canned food shelves at Walmart in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sept. 5, 2017, while residents stock up with groceries in preparation for hurricane Irma.
Canned food shelves at Walmart in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sept. 5, 2017, while residents stock up with groceries in preparation for hurricane Irma.

On "Good Morning America" today, Florida Gov. Rick Scott urged people to be prepared but to also take only what they will need.

"We don't see any widespread shortages and we don't believe that we're going to have them right now," Scott told "GMA." "I'm asking everybody as you get prepared, three days of water per person, three days of food. Take enough but take only what you need, don't take more."

PHOTO: People purchase plywood at The Home Depot as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Sept. 6, 2017, in Miami.
People purchase plywood at The Home Depot as they prepare for Hurricane Irma, Sept. 6, 2017, in Miami.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jose is following behind Irma on a similar path. Jose officially became a tropical storm on Tuesday before noon with winds of 40 mph and is expected to become a Category 2 hurricane by the end of the week. It could skirt the most northeastern Caribbean islands, but so far it is not projected to be a threat to Puerto Rico or the U.S.

ABC News' Max Golembo contributed to this report.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Hurricane Irma did not make landfall on Barbuda.

Original Article

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