Eye of Hurricane Irma hits mainland US

14 September, 2017, 00:52 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • FPL shut one reactor at Florida Turkey Point ahead of Irma

Residents are slowly being allowed to return to some islands in the hurricane-slammed Florida Keys as officials try to piece together the scope of Irma's destruction and rush aid into the drenched and debris-strewn state. As it continued on its path toward Georgia, the storm was expected to weaken.

Winds knocked a utility pole and power lines onto a sheriff's cruiser late Sunday in Polk County east of Tampa, illustrating the unsafe conditions for emergency personnel.

Sgt. Chris Lynne and James Tanner Schaill became trapped after they had dropped off an elderly patient at the hospital.

"Don't think just because this has passed you can run home". Firefighters and National Guardsmen went door-to-door and used boats to ferry families to safety. No injuries were reported.

In Redington Shores west of Tampa, attorney Carl Roberts spent a sleepless night riding out the storm in his 17th floor beachfront condo.

"It's so dark in here", he said. More than 100,000 were in the dark in Georgia.

Late Sunday, as the storm moved up Florida's west coast, officials said 28,000 people had taken refuge in 45 county shelters in Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa.

"From 3 to 5 a.m. we'll have high tide and the winds will pull all of that water back onto shore", said Storm Team 8 meteorologist Leigh Spann.

Irma's assault - so soon after Harvey's deluge of Houston - marked the first time the US was hit by two Category 4 storms in the same year.

Few people lived in St. Petersburg when the 1921 Tampa Bay hurricane roared ashore just north of the city.

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Irma is the strongest Atlantic storm on record, and the two are the only pair of Atlantic hurricanes to record wind speeds of more than 150 miles per hour at the same time.

Footage from the Grassy Key island shot by United States broadcaster NBC showed downed power lines, felled trees, and streets strewn with debris and vehicles. He said 19,500 electric workers have been deployed in the restoration effort. "The surge is yet to be finished". Water also filled The Battery, the downtown Charleston neighborhood where the Ashley and Cooper rivers meet. Firefighters rescued a puppy from one of the homes there and leashed the anxious dog to the front of one of their trucks to give it water and snacks.

"We know we have many people who want to get off the island, as we have no power, and many, manty more trying to get on the island", Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said.

The storm killed at least 28 people as it raged westward through the Caribbean en route to Florida, devastating several small islands, and grazing Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti before pummeling parts of Cuba's north coast with 36-foot-tall (11-m) waves. In the coming days, Irma is expected to push into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and beyond.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued a tropical storm watch for the area Monday and Tuesday.

President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration for SC on Thursday, which makes federal emergency aid available to the state to supplement state, tribal and local response efforts at 75% federal funding.

"You can't see a thing out there", Jayson Simonson, the resident filming, can be heard saying in the background. It doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

"We're not saying get in your auto and go", Merrill said. Authorities were set to begin house-to-house searches Monday to check on survivors.

Emergency responders implored citizens to stay in place and resist venturing outside until crews can assess damage and confirm that it's safe to leave their homes.

Trump also said that he plans to visit Florida "very soon".

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