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As much of Florida is left flooded and without power from this weekend’s hurricane, the damage across much of the Caribbean goes well beyond water damage and downed power lines with many describing the devastation left by Irma as “end-of-the-world times.” As one resident of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands told the Washington Post, “it was beyond rough times, it was end-of-the-world times…everything normal to us has been destroyed.”
On St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, “people there are roaming like zombies,” said Stacey Alvarado, a bar owner who managed to leave for the mainland. Her husband, who is still there, told her Sunday that residents and tourists are in shock. “They don’t know what to do. The island was wiped out. It’s like the walking dead down there.” Other islanders sent social media messages pleading for help, decrying looting and a series of armed burglaries.
“We need help,” wrote St. John blogger Jenn Manes. “We need the United States government to step up. We need military. We need security.”
Lauren Boquette, a 48-year-old restaurant manager on St. John, said his family had barricaded themselves in the bathroom of their home. When they emerged, he said, they saw a scene of total destruction.
“It was beyond rough times, it was end-of-the-world times. Everything normal to us has been destroyed,” he said.
Some of the hardest-hit places were those in the Leeward Islands like St. Martin and St. Barts,
where 11 people have reportedly died.
Residents of South Florida woke up Sunday morning to Hurricane Irma making landfall at 9:10 a.m. in the Florida Keys as a monster Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.
The monster storm made a second landfall later at 3:35 p.m. near Marco Island as it continued traveling north along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Irma to continue overnight into Monday before finally losing hurricane strength status.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 10, 2017
By Sunday afternoon Irma had been downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane, but the NHC was still warning of an “imminent danger of life-threatening storm surge flooding along much of the Florida west coast.” More than 6.3 million people evacuated from their homes after the Florida governor ordered those in Irma’s projected path to seek safe shelter away from the storm. Curfews for 6:00 p.m. have been declared by local officials in the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay.
As Florida residents continue to brace for life-threatening storm surges of up to 15 feet, here are 11 surreal scenes from Miami that reminded us of a real-life disaster movie:
(Update: Associated Press tweeted that French President Emmanuel Macron will visit St Martin on Tuesday. Macron tweeted on Saturday that an additional contingent of 240-300 French officers are being sent to restore order to the island.)
Citizens and some news sources are reporting that the island of St Martin/St Maarten is on the verge of a civil war as organized gangs armed with machetes raid stores and homes, leaving some residents in fear for their lives.
The island, which remains isolated after widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, remains cut off after the island’s main airport was significantly damaged.
Update 9 (1:10pm): Deputies shot and wounded a burglar and arrested his accomplice at a Florida home as Hurricane Irma blew in.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Sunday that the homeowners in Weston were out of town but saw the burglars remotely inside the house through a home surveillance system. Deputies responded shortly before 3 a.m. and one of the two juvenile males was shot outside the home. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The other person was arrested.
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Update 8 (12:54 pm): Miami’s financial center appears to now be flooding as ocean water enters city streets as part of the storm’s surge.
As we noted on Friday, sea-level analytics firm Climate Central had created a simulation based on the National Hurricane Center’s Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment storm surge and wave modeling that illustrated the devastating flooding in Miami that could result from Hurricane Irma’s storm surge. By overlaying the NHC data with a three-dimensional visual of the city obtained using Google maps, the firm created a realistic visual of what the city would look like under between seven and 11 feet of water.
Luckily, in the last minute the Hurricane shifted westward, but the concerns remain.
Given the expected intensity of the flooding, some readers might assume that the dreaded surge would be the result of tsunami-like waves overwhelming the city’s beaches. But that’s not the case. As the Associated Press explains, the hurricane-force winds draw in water not just form the ocean, but other nearby bodies of water as well. However, forecasters say surges kill more people than the strong winds.
As Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned, the surge “will cover your house.” Already, at least three Floridians have died in the Keys.
– September Temperatures Have Plummeted At All East Coast And Gulf Coast Stations:
After the quietest decade for US hurricanes on record, we get a couple of hurricanes and the press immediately blames global warming and declares it to be the new normal.
H/t reader kevin a.
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Florida’s highways and backroads are clogged with motorists after Gov. Rick Scott has ordered an unprecedented 6.2 million residents of central and southern Florida to evacuate. Meanwhile, Miami, along with many towns and cities along the state’s southeastern coast, resembles a ghost town, according to the New York Post.
To recap: The category 4 storm has already carved a path of destruction through the Caribbean, leaving 90% or Barbuda uninhabitable and nearly a million people without power in Puerto Rico. And now, with the storm’s outer bands already battering the southern part of the state, meteorologists are saying Irma has suddenly shifted westward and is now heading toward Florida’s Gulf Coast – specifically, the Tampa Bay area.
Here’s the Associated Press:
Forecasters expect Irma’s core to come ashore Sunday and strike the Keys, southwestern Florida and the Tampa Bay region, which hasn’t felt a major hurricane since 1921. The eye is expected to miss heavily-populated Miami, which may have dodged a bubble in the last minute, but that area will still get life-threatening hurricane conditions even without a direct hit, Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.
Hurricane Irma is more powerful than all of the other major Atlantic storms this year combined, and it has an eye as large as the entire Detroit metro area. It is being reported that “upwards of 90%” of Barbuda has already been destroyed by the storm, and it is being projected that some areas of Puerto Rico could be without power “for between four and six months”. You may want to view these photos and these videos to get a better idea of the immense destructiveness of this very powerful storm. The latest forecasts have Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida, but so far the two nuclear power plants in Florida that would be directly in the path of the storm have not even started the process of shutting down…
Having mauled the Caribbean island of St. Martin overnight, where this morning the French government said that the four “most solid” buildings have been destroyed, Hurricane Irma – now at 185mps for a record 33 straight hours – has just passed north of Puerto Rico, buffeting the US island territory’s capital, San Juan, with heavy downpours and strong winds that scattered tree limbs across roadways, but not before “totally demolishing” the island of Barbuda, with 90% of all dwellings leveled, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.
— CNN (@CNN) September 6, 2017
Browne said that Irma has unleashed “absolute devastation” on the island making Barbuda, home to some 1,800 people, “basically uninhabitable” with preliminary damage estimated at some $150 million.
Antigua & Barbuda’s Prime Minister: “The way it stands now, #Barbuda is basically uninhabitable.”
Photos: ABS Television/Radio. pic.twitter.com/SxJDknTvy3
— TTWeatherCenter (@TTWeatherCenter) September 6, 2017
First images out of Barbuda from a Facebook broadcast live by ABS Radio & TV.
Widespread destruction has occurred on the island. pic.twitter.com/0MGShjxuU8
— TTWeatherCenter (@TTWeatherCenter) September 6, 2017
He said that the island’s communication network is 100% destroyed.
The best kind of looter is the kind that you can shoot.
Especially in emergency situations, those coming onto your property and stealing from you are a serious threat to your life. You must have the ability and means to protect yourself and loved ones.
What other kinds of looters are there, you may ask? In many places, you can protect yourself and your property without fear of prosecution.
But sometimes the gang of looters gets too big to defend yourself against. Like when it is the United States National Guard.
The Caribbean has some serious weather going on right now. The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands has therefore declared its commitment to helping everyone get through this tough time. They did this by authorizing the Virgin Islands National Guard to steal anything they need from anyone living on the Islands.
If the right to be secure in your person and property can be taken away with the stroke of a pen, you really never had the rights at all. This is the problem with entrusting the government to protect rights. They claim that they can only do so by trampling on them.
How exactly is stealing from people in need going to help the people in need?
The last time a major hurricane hit the Turkey Point nuclear power plant, it caused $90 million in damage but left the nuclear reactors along southern Biscayne Bay unscathed.
In anticipation of powerful Hurricane Irma, which projections on Wednesday showed headed straight for South Florida, Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants were finalizing staffing plans and cleaning up the grounds. But neither Turkey Point nor the St. Lucie plant farther up the coast had made the call yet to shutting down the plants.
H/t reader kevin a.
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Irma is the kind of storm where you get thousands of lives lost. This is not going to be the big slow-motion flood like Harvey – this is a real, honest-to-God hurricane.
– Chuck Watson, disaster modeler with Enki Research
Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm on record according to the NHC, raced across northern Caribbean islands on Wednesday with a “catastrophic mix of fierce winds, surf and rain”, ahead of what appears a virtually guaranteed Florida landfall at the weekend. While Irma precise trajectory remained uncertain, the latest NHC forecast sees the cone coming right on top fo the panhandle.
— Jim Cantore (@JimCantore) September 6, 2017
The eye of Irma, a Category 5 storm packing winds of 185 miles per hour (295 km per hour), moved away from the island of Barbuda and toward the island of St. Martin, east of Puerto Rico, early on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami reported. It could hit Florida on Saturday. It is expected to bring strong storm surges and up to 20 inches of rain in some places.
Update 3: The Irma hits just keep on coming, with the NHC Atlantic Ops twitter page reporting moments ago that as of this moment, Irma is now the stronger hurricane in the Atlantic basin outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in NHC records.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) September 5, 2017
According to Bloomberg, Irma’s current path – headed straight for Florida – has prompted the state to prepare for the “catastrophic” system. Unlike Harvey, which caused widespread damage, power outages and flooding and taking almost a fifth of U.S. oil refining capacity offline, Irma is a bigger threat to agriculture, with orange juice futures surging.
With the monster Cat-5 Hurricane Irma fast approaching what looks increasingly like an inevitable Florida landfall later this week, Governor Rick Scott has just announced that he has activated 100 members of the Florida Air and Army National Guard, with an additional 7,000 members expected to be activated Friday morning. Per the Miami Herald:
About 100 members of the Florida Air and Army National Guard were activated Tuesday to begin preparations for Hurricane Irma and all 7,000 members will report for duty Friday morning, Gov. Rick Scott said.