Hurricane Irma forces Pope Francis to alter his route

(Crux) As the old saying goes, time and the tides stop for one. Neither, as it turns out, does a hurricane, as the rise of the massive category 5 Hurricane Irma forced Pope Francis to alter his projected flight path from Rome to Bogotá at the start of a six-day visit to Colombia.

Prior to the departure of the plane carrying the pope, his entourage, and members of the press, the Vatican announced that it would follow a more southerly route to Colombia, steering clear of the hurricane presently menacing the Caribbean islands.

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, as Irma gathered strength on Tuesday, it became the strongest storm on record ever to hit the Atlantic basin.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic. Irma will target the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico Wednesday into early Thursday, and parts of Hispañola, the Bahamas, and Cuba are also in the path of Irma late this week. [More]