Irma has quickly become one of the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded, with wind speeds of 185 miles per hour. As this monster churns through the Caribbean and heads toward Florida, here is the lowdown.

Irma is a Category 5 storm, which means sustained winds of greater than 157 mph. Winds that strong can destroy framed homes and many masonry structures that aren't reinforced. Forecasters predict that Irma's damage may be more tornado-like than the devastation wreaked by more typical hurricanes.

Irma, by contrast, is a whirling dervish that will sweep through islands such as Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. Unlike Harvey, Irma's damage should come primarily from storm surge and the violent winds.

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