Hurricane irma: Pray for florida,miami,pray for united States.
Heavy winds and rain whipped Miami, Florida on
Sunday as Hurricane Irma approached the US
Hurricane Irma lashed the Florida mainland on
Sunday, where anxious residents prepared to be
“punched in the face” by the monster storm after
it whipped the Keys island chain with fearsome
Six million people have been ordered to flee the
path of the hurricane, which weakened to a
Category Two storm as it churned past the Keys,
but was still packing dangerous winds of up to
110 miles (177 kilometers) per hour.
Handfuls of holdout residents, having defied calls
to evacuate, hunkered down as Irma tore over the
Keys, ripping boats from their moorings, flattening
palm trees and downing power lines across the
island chain popular for fishing and scuba diving.
“There’s absolutely no way anybody can be
outside right now,” Maggy Howes, a first
responder on Key Haven, told CNN. “You would
not be able to stand or walk.”
Hours later, the storm made a second landfall on
Marco Island near the beach resort of Naples,
unleashing high winds and rain across southern
Florida and cutting power to two million people
as it moved up the western Gulf coast.
One of the mightiest hurricanes ever to slam the
state, Irma is threatening dangerous storm surges
of up to 15 feet (4.5 meters), enough to cover a
house, as it collides with Florida after sowing
devastation through the Caribbean.
“I am concerned about people that don’t believe
in the storm surge,” said Virginia Defreeuw, 76,
who fled her mobile home in Naples to a shelter.
“You need to be afraid of the storm surge! People
are not listening.”
In Miami, the storm brought at least two
construction cranes crashing down, while the
glitzy Brickell neighborhood was flooded by
waters “coming over the sea walls,” according to
Steven Schlacknam, a 51-year-old visual artist
watching from a 37th floor apartment.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was blunt about the
threat to the low-lying and densely populated
Tampa Bay peninsula: “We are about to get
punched in the face by this storm.”
– ‘Lives, not cost’ –
President Donald Trump, who vowed to travel to
Florida “very soon,” approved the state’s request
for emergency federal aid to help with temporary
housing, home repairs, emergency work and
AFP / Gaston De Cardenas
Rough surf damaged the docks at Whale Harbor
in the Florida Keys as winds and rain from the
outer bands of Hurricane Irma arrive in
“Right now, we’re worried about lives, not cost,”
At least 30 deaths are already attributable to the
storm, including three in Florida. The US victims
included a sheriff’s deputy killed in a head-on
collision early Sunday as she drove home for
supplies after working in a shelter all night.
Irma smacked the Keys 57 years to the day that
Hurricane Donna hit the same area in 1960,
destroying nearly 75 percent of the island chain’s
A shelter of last resort set up in the Middle Keys
city of Marathon was reported to be without
power or running water, and surrounded by
Irma also led to some uniquely Floridian
responses, with a sheriff forced to warn residents
not to shoot at the storm after an online prank
promoting the idea went viral.
“To clarify, DO NOT shoot weapons @ #Irma,” the
office of the sheriff of Pasco County, on the
state’s west coast, tweeted hours before landfall.
– Miami spared worst –
AFP / ADALBERTO ROQUE
Streets were flooded by the passage of Hurricane
Irma in the town of Caibarien in Cuba’s Villa
In Miami, where emergency services were
sheltering in place, a dispatcher talked a woman
through delivering her own baby on Sunday
morning, Assistant Fire Chief Eloy Garcia told the
At least two towering construction cranes had
collapsed downtown, according to residents who
chose to ride out the storm rather than heed calls
But Miami Beach, a resort island normally
buzzing with tourists, had prepared for an
apocalyptic event — and residents reached by
AFP were grateful they had been spared the
“It’s a show but not a catastrophic event,” said
Roberto Cuneo, a 41-year-old realtor who had
decided not to flee.
State-wide, nearly two million homes and
businesses lost power, according to utility
company Florida Power and Light, which said it
had “safely shut down” one of two nuclear
reactors at its Turkey Point power plant.
AFP / Gemma HANDY
Houses in Codrington, Antigua and Barbuda,
devastated by Hurricane Irma
Before reaching the United States, Irma smashed
through a string of Caribbean islands from tiny
Barbuda on Wednesday, to the tropical paradises
of Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin, the US
Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican
Republic, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos.
Terrified Cubans who rode out Irma in coastal
towns — after it made landfall Friday on the
Camaguey archipelago as a maximum-strength
Category Five storm — reported “deafening”
winds, uprooted trees and power lines, and blown
There were no immediate reports of casualties in
Cuba but it caused significant damage, and
enormous waves lashed the Malecon, Havana’s
emblematic seafront, with seawaters penetrating
deep into the capital.