VIRAL VIDEO: Meteorologist battles full force of Hurricane Irma to measure its wind speed
FLORIDA: A storm chaser jeopardized his life when he stepped out of his car and stood against the hurricane Irma winds to measure its speed.
Juston Drake, a meteorologist, was filmed stumbling backwards as he battled winds exceeding 100mph in Saddlebunch Keys, just off the mainland Florida.
Wearing a paintball mask, which was quickly ripped from his face, Mr Drake is almost blown off his feet at points as he attempts to get a wind speed reading.
The footage emerged as Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, with the eyewall hitting the Keys, which are a string of islands off its south coast.
Mr Drake was filmed by fellow storm chaser and meteorologist Simon Brewer. Shortly after posting the footage of Mr Drake, Mr Brewer also posted a picture of a handheld anemometer with a wind speed reading of 117mph.
Irma had been one of the most powerful hurricanes ever seen in the Atlantic, killing 28 people in the Caribbean and pummeling Cuba with 36-foot (11 metre) waves on Sunday. Its core was located about 35 miles (56 km) south of Naples.
Some 6.5 million people, about a third of the state’s population, had been ordered to evacuate southern Florida.
Officials warned that Irma’s heavy storm surge – seawater driven on land by high winds – could bring floods of up to 15 feet (4.6 m) along the state’s western Gulf Coast. Small whitecapped waves could be seen in flooded streets between Miami office towers.