Hurricane Irma leaves destruction, death behind
MIAMIHurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, drove toward Florida on Sept. 8 as it lashed the Caribbean with winds and torrential rain, leaving behind at least 14 deaths and a swathe of catastrophic destruction.
The hurricane battered the Turks and Caicos Islands early Sept. 8 and Cuba evacuated tourists from beachside resorts.
Waves as high as 6 meters were expected in the Turks and Caicos. Communications went down as the storm slammed into the islands, and the extent of the devastation was unclear.
The first hurricane warnings were issued for parts of southern Florida as the state braced for what could be a catastrophic hit over the weekend. Following in Irma’s wake was Hurricane Jose, with some of the islands hit hardest by Irma in its expected path.
Irma weakened from a Category 5 storm to Category 4 on Sept. 8 morning with maximum sustained winds near 250 kph, but it remained a powerful hurricane.
Irma rolled past the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Sept. 7 and spun along the northern coast of Cuba on Sept. 8 morning.
French, British and Dutch military authorities rushed aid to a devastated string of Caribbean islands where thousands were left homeless. The first islands hit by the storm were scenes of terrible destruction.
Looting was reported in St. Martin. Annick Girardin, minister for France’s overseas territories, described on BFM television on Sept. 8 “scenes of pillaging” of televisions as well as food and water.