Hurricane Irma hit FloridaBack to list
Days after it began its assault on the Caribbean and southern Florida, Irma was still churning north on Monday, causing fresh damage in areas where many Floridians had sought refuge over the weekend.
The massive storm’s rain bands reached out hundreds of miles beyond its center, wreaking havoc throughout much of Georgia and South Carolina on Monday. Storm surges were made worse by an unlucky coincidence that prompted flash flooding: Irma’s effects had arrived at high tide.
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said that over all, Irma’s damage to his state was not as bad as the direst forecasts had predicted, but that some areas were thoroughly brutalized. About 65 percent of residents remained without power. And northern Florida, including the city of Jacksonville, was flooding.
In southern Florida, residents faced life-altering damage and displacement that would prevent a return to normal life for some time. Many areas had fuel shortages, as well as downed power lines and standing water.
The Keys, a series of low-lying islands, were hit especially bad. A stretch of highway there that leads to the United States’ southernmost point was riddled with Jet Skis, seaweed and the occasional refrigerator. In a few places, water had washed out chunks of the road. “I just hope everybody survived,” Governor Scott said after flying over the islands on Monday. “It’s horrible what we saw.”
Here’s the latest:
• As of 8 p.m., Irma — downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm — had maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and was moving north-northwest about 55 miles southeast of Columbus, Ga.
• The National Weather Service said a flash flood emergency had been declared in Charleston, S.C.
• Flooding from a storm surge in Jacksonville exceeded a record set by Hurricane Dora in 1964, the National Weather Service said. The city’s mayor urged those who needed to be rescued to raise makeshift white flags outside their homes.
• At least 42 people have died as a result of the storm, including at least eight in the continental United States, according to The Associated Press.
• As many as 6.7 million customers are without power across Florida, according to state officials. The full extent of the damage is not yet known.