Last night Hurricane Irma gave Florida a coast-to-coast beating with winds over 130 miles per hour. Homes and boats have been swamped, millions of people have been left without power, and massive destruction looms over the Miami skyline. The 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore mostly cleared out Florida Keys, but quickly marched up the westward coast line across to Miami and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic Side.
The damage began before Hurricane Irma hit land. Yesterday, it was reported that 2 million people living in Miami-Dad, Broward, and Palm Beach counties were out of power. Reuters reported that as it crept up the Florida coast, the hurricane knocked out the power to approximately 2 million homes and businesses. The true extent of the damage still remains to be seen.
The Hurricane arrived in Florida as a Category 4 Hurricane, but by nightfall it was down to a Category 2 with winds of 100 miles per hour. Irma was at one time the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, a category 5 with a peak wind speed of 185mph. It was originally thought that Irma was taking dead aim at the Miami area and rest of Florida's Atlantic coast. Soon thereafter, however, Irma made a westward turn and therefore hit Miami with less of a punch than originally predicted, crossing Cuba's northern coast just before making a turn to Florida's Gulf Coast.
As the Hurricane was hitting, more than 160,000 people waited in shelters throughout the state of Florida.
President Donald Trump has remarked that the US is lucky that Irma steered off its course, resulting in less destruction than originally anticipated. But nevertheless, the damage is severe, and Donald Trump is sending his thoughts and prayers to the victims of Irma. Mr. Trump addressed reporters on Sunday.
"Right now, we're worried about lives, not cost," he remarked.
Many roads in downtown Miami have turned into rivers as water quickly races between office buildings. While it was reported yesterday that 2 million people in Florida were without power, that number is now up to 3 million, according to The Telegraph.
According to ABC, over 6.4 Floridans have been ordered to evacuate, and more than a quarter of Florida's population have been warned that they'll be on their own if they stay. Many chose to remain in their homes, while 100,000 decided to flee to shelters. Governor Scott has asked everyone around the world to pray for victims.
According to the Washington Post, at 8 a.m. Monday morning the storm centered 105 miles north-northwest of Tampa. The storm now seems to be heading toward southern Georgia. Currently, almost the entire state of Georgia is covered by heavy rain.
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