Monday, 20 November, 2017

25% of Florida Keys buildings destroyed, FEMA says

Hurricane Irma What we know Hurricane Irma What we know
Christy Curtis | 14 September, 2017, 01:15

Warnings of unsafe storm surges remained in effect through vast swaths of peninsular Florida, where more than six million people had been ordered to flee Irma in one of the biggest evacuations in U.S. history. There is a long period of swells from Irma, and northeast winds the last few days from a high pressure system in the northeast. A hurricane watch is in effect for an area north of Fernandina Beach to Edisto Beach, while a tropical storm warning is in effect for an area west of Indian Pass to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line; an area north of Fernandina Beach to South Santee River; and Bimini and Grand Bahama. Even areas that didn't face a direct hit from Irma saw flooding and downed power lines.

A weakened Irma weakened took its parting shot at Florida on Monday, triggering severe flooding in the state's northeastern corner, while authorities along the storm's 400-mile (640-kilometer) path struggled to rush aid to victims and take the full measure of the damage.

"Well", he added, "we're about to get punched in the face".

The almost 400-mile-wide storm was expected to make a slow, ruinous march up Florida's west coast, straight toward the heavily populated Tampa-St Petersburg area by this morning. Some people are venturing as far as 200 yards (180 meters) out to get to the water's new edge.

"Their cell phone died, so I haven't heard anything since right after the eye went through", she said. But by Sunday, just before the season's halfway point, there had already been 11 named storms and six hurricanes. This means most people who chose to stay hunkered down at home or in a shelter can expect hurricane-force winds in excess of 74 miles per hour. A 5 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center said the center was about 65 miles southwest of Atlanta and 100 miles east-southeast of Birmingham, Ala. Several areas were without water, power or communications, and all three of the islands' hospitals remain closed, officials said.

"They normally don't unless it is going to be a Category 3 or higher", he said. "We're going down to the Keys to try to make sure the roads are passable, makes sure the bridges are safe".

"Hurricanes are just a way of life in Florida", he said. But as the storm neared, some Floridians hunkered down rather than hitting the road. "Growing up in the state, you are used to them and know how to prepare for them".

On Tuesday morning, the rainy remnants of Irma pushed through Alabama and MS after drenching Georgia.

The south to north scenario along a coastline that Irma seems to be taking has always been seen as the most problematic for Floridians because of the few places it leaves for residents to flee from the storm.

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