If Irma's center marches north directly over Florida's eastern coastline, former hurricane hunter Jeff Masters says high winds and storm surges could turn the Gold Coast to the Mud Coast.
As of the midday Wednesday advisory, Tropical Storm Jose has sustained winds of 70 miles per hour.
The initial storm track shows the hurricane is several days away from possibly impacting any land.
Evacuating such an area ahead of time is a tricky task, given the shape of the Florida peninsula means the whole state is potentially in the path of Irma. For the first time since 2010, there are three hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean: Irma, Katia, and Jose.
Hurricane Jose has been upgraded to a category 3 hurricane, and it is heading for the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the storm's winds are up to 75 miles per hour, with some strengthening forecast over the next two days.
While the Caribbean faces the possibility of being affected by a second major hurricane, Mexico is braced for the arrival of Hurricane Katia.
The NHC said the storm should strengthen further and would probably start drifting towards the southwest before it is forecast to hit the state of Veracruz by early Saturday.
Jose, like Katia, is a Category 1 hurricane with 75 miles per hour winds.
"Barbuda is literally rubble", Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda told ABS TV/Radio Antigua.
CNN's Leyla Santiago, in the capital of San Juan, said there were already power outages as strong winds lashed the island and the center of the storm moved just off the northeast coast.