Irma pounds Florida

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/9/11 23:23:40

Storm leaves millions without power

Downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, Irma flooded several northern Florida cities with heavy rain and a high storm surge on Monday as it headed out of the state after cutting power to millions and ripping roofs off homes.

Irma, once ranked as one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, hit a wide swath of Florida over the past day, first making landfall on the Florida Keys archipelago and then coming ashore south of Naples before heading up the west coast.

Now a tropical storm with sustained winds of up to 110 kilometers per hour (kph), Irma was located about 56 kilometers (km) west of Gainesville and headed up the Gulf Coast, the National Hurricane Center said at 12:00 GMT.

The Cuban government reported Monday that 10 people had been killed after Irma battered the island's north coast with ferocious winds and 11-meter waves over the weekend.­

It raised the overall death toll from Irma's powerful rampage through the Caribbean to 38.

US President Donald Trump in a ceremony at the Pentagon to remember the ­victims of the 9/11 attacks vowed a full response to Irma, as well as continued federal support for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which flooded Texas.

"These are storms of catastrophic severity and we are marshalling the full resources of the federal government to help our fellow Americans," Trump said.

"When Americans are in need, Americans pull together and we are one country."

Over the weekend, Irma claimed its first US fatality - a man found dead in a pickup truck that had crashed into a tree in high winds in the town of Marathon, in the Florida Keys, local officials said.

During its passage through the Caribbean en route to Florida, Irma was ranked at the rare top end of the scale of hurricane intensity, a Category 5, for days.

It carried maximum sustained winds of up to 295 kph when it crashed into the island of Barbuda on Wednesday.

Ahead of Irma's arrival, some 6.5 million people in southern Florida, about a third of the state's population, were ordered to evacuate their homes.

Some 200,000 were housed in shelters during the storm, according to federal officials.

The storm did some $20 billion to $40 billion in damage to insured property as it tore through Florida, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated.


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