Irma Leaves Widespread Devastation, Flooding In Florida

Posted September 12, 2017

Since making landfall in both the Florida Keys and Marco Island, almost 7 million homes and businesses have been left stranded without electricity as now-Tropical Storm Irma moves through US' Southeast region.

Apart from vast infrastructure damage throughout Florida, the superstorm is depriving over 3 million households and businesses of power, according to local electricity professionals. That toll included 10 killed in Cuba and state media said most of those died in Havana, where seawater surged deep into residential neighborhoods.

A storm surge flooded Jacksonville's downtown area, and JEA, the city's electric utility, reported at least 267,000 customers were without power.

Officials were still trying to fully assess the situation in Florida early Monday, AP said. Irma hit them as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds near 130 miles per hour. The hurricane, once a fearsome Category 5 when it smashed into Caribbean islands last week, had top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (85 kph) late Monday afternoon.

Hurricane force winds are expected to continue this morning across south Florida as Irma moves northward.

The Triangle probably will get some rain and perhaps a drenching Tuesday, but most of the region is expected to escape much trouble as Hurricane Irma works up the west coast of Florida during the day and then moves into western Georgia.

The centre of Hurricane Irma has hit mainland Florida, just south of Naples, amid warnings of storm surges as high as 4.5m.

"How are we going to survive from here?" asked Gwen Bush, who waded through thigh-deep floodwaters outside her central Florida home to reach National Guard rescuers and get a ride to a shelter.

"I really want to see a "where are they now?" after the storm with this character" one Twitter user said.

John Ward, the emergency operations manager of Clay County, said Monday morning that crews had saved 46 people, with an undetermined number still stranded, The Associated Press reported. Cities as far inland as Atlanta are under a tropical storm watch Monday and Tuesday.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation for some barrier islands.

Irma has already devastated parts of the Caribbean, killing at least 28 people.

Drake said he believed that the winds Irma brought were the worst he had ever experienced, worse than even the ones that Hurricane Harvey brought last month to Texas.