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At a time when South Floridians rocked by Hurricane Irma were still surveying the damage to their properties, the county of Miami-Dade apparently thought it appropriate to begin handing out safety notices.
Celso Perez told local WSVN-TV that he, his family, and his neighbors were starting to clear fallen trees from the streets after the storm passed through at nine in the morning on Monday. Hours later, in the afternoon, Perez got a visit from the county.
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: