Hurricane Irma has now been downgraded to a category one tropical storm, but her devastating effects are still being felt across the US. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and the state of Florida is in chaos – with other states set to be affected.
There are currently 5.8 million people without power, and at least five people have been killed in Florida, and 37 in the Caribbean. The danger is not over yet as the storm still has the potential to cause life-threatening surges across Florida.
Here are 14 startling photographs of Hurricane Irma’s devastation.
1. The trees in North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in Florida bent like cards.
2. This restaurant on Orient Bay on the French Caribbean island of Saint Martin was obliterated.
3. Rescuers make their way through the flood waters in Havana, Cuba.
4. The sand from Pompano Beach, Florida was completely tossed around.
Whilst the state of Florida was mostly evacuated before Hurricane Irma hit, thousands chose to stay in their homes ignoring the advice of government officials. The storm first made landfall in the Florida Keys, where many homes were destroyed completely.
It is not known how many people chose to stay in the Florida Keys, although some have estimated 10,000. The military are being sent in to look for survivors and help those in need of assistance.
On Monday, President Trump issued the following statement about Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey (which officially ended on September 2) during a commemorative 9/11 speech:
“These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshalling the full full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee and all of those wonderful places and states in harm’s way.
When Americans are in in need, Americans pull together. And we our one country. And when we face hardship we emerge, closer, stronger and more determined than ever.”
5. The sea has claimed this street in Havana, Cuba.
6. The sea recedes in Tampa Bay as a result of a storm surge.
7. A dock in Fort Lauderdale is battered by waves from Hurricane Irma.
8. Downtown Miami was almost completely deserted.
Hurricane Irma is a record-breaking storm. To put her strength in context, she was a top-0f-the-scale category five hurricane for five days which is the longest period of time that a storm has held this status in the satellite era.
The damaged caused by Hurricane Irma is even worse than Hurricane Harvey. Irma had maximum speeds of 185 mph, whereas Harvey’s strongest winds were 132 mph. It is estimated that they will cost the US economy $290 billion.
9. This truck was tossed over in Miami.
10. An abandoned car on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard.
11. Submerged CitiBikes in downtown Miami.
Because Florida is a well-known tourist destination, many people wondered how its major attractions Disneyland and Universal Studios fared in the hurricane. There has reportedly been no major damage and they are set to shortly reopen.
However, any tourists who are set to visit the area in the near future are encouraged to postpone their visits. Aside form the obvious damage caused by the hurricane, Florida’s heavily tourism-based economy will take a huge hit in the coming weeks.
Airlines are set to send out extra planes to the area to rescue stranded tourists once the airports reopen.
12. A Florida resident making preparations for Hurricane Irma.
13. Hurricane Irma’s aftermath in Cuba was extreme.
14. A satellite image of Hurricane Irma as it approached Cuba and Florida.
Florida’s governor Rick Scott is encouraging residents to remain indoors until the danger posed by the storm has completely passed. Speaking about storm surges, he said, “As little as six inches of moving water can knock you down. Stay inside. Stay safe.”
If you are in the path of the storm outside Florida, you are advised to heed all governmental advice.
We wish all the best to those affected by Hurricane Irma.