Hurricane Irma sowed a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean Wednesday, reducing to rubble the tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin and claiming at least seven lives.

One of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, the dangerous Category Five hurricane was churning off the north coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, on a potential collision course with south Florida where at-risk areas were evacuated.

The French part of St Martin – a pristine resort known for its vibrant nightlife – suffered the storm’s full fury: at least eight people died and 95 percent of dwellings were decimated, officials said.

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