Lat­est on Irma af­ter­math: 9.5M Florid­i­ans

The Miracle - - Front Page - The As­so­ci­ated Press & Globe and Mail

Florida of­fi­cials say crews are restor­ing power across the state, but 9.5 mil­lion peo­ple re­main with­out elec­tric­ity. State Emer­gency Man­age­ment Cen­ter of­fi­cials say they re­stored power to 1.7 mil­lion homes and busi­nesses on Tues­day. Of the three South Florida coun­ties that were hit the hard­est, Palm Beach is the only one where more than half have power. Hur­ri­cane-scarred Florida is tak­ing stock of the dam­age after Irma – weak­ened to a trop­i­cal storm on Mon­day – left the state to men­ace Ge­or­gia and Alabama as a post­trop­i­cal cy­clone. Dam­age to com­mu­ni­ties like Tampa and Mi­ami wasn’t as bad as pre­dicted be­cause of a last-minute change of course: The storm had been ex­pected to hit Florida’s east coast at full strength, but it in­stead it went west, straf­ing the other side of the penin­sula with less force and caus­ing less ex­ten­sive (though still se­vere) flood­ing. Irma was still a deadly dis­as­ter, in Florida as else­where in its path. As of Tues­day, Irma was re­spon­si­ble for at least six deaths in Florida, three in Ge­or­gia and one in South Carolina. At least 35 peo­ple were killed in the Caribbean. Florida Gov­er­nor Rick Scott called the storm “dev­as­tat­ing” after a Mon­day fly­over Hur­ri­cane Irma’s death toll, dev­as­ta­tion and pre­dicted path - ev­ery­thing we know. Hur­ri­cane Irma hit Florida on Sun­day, bring­ing with it ris­ing seas, floods and 130mph winds. At least four peo­ple are known to have died and power cuts have af­fected more than three mil­lion peo­ple. Hav­ing pounded Cuba the day be­fore, the su­per­storm left many of that coun­try’s north­ern coastal towns, as well as the Florida Keys, with sub­stan­tial dam­age, be­fore be­gin­ning to move up the west coast of the state, to­wards Tampa, on Sun­day evening Some of the record Irma has bro­ken Irma set plenty of records, ac­cord­ing to a twopage list com­piled by Colorado State Univer­sity re­searcher Phil Klotzbach: Its 185 mph (297 kph) winds were the high est on record for the open At­lantic ocean, out­side the Gulf of Mex­ico and Caribbean sea. Only one other storm in the en­tire At- of the Keys, describing over­turned mo­bile homes, washed-ashore boats and ram­pant flood dam­age. As of Tues­day, a stun­ning 13 mil­lion Florida res­i­dents were with­out elec­tric­ity – twothirds of the third-largest state’s res­i­dents – as trop­i­cal heat re­turned across the penin­sula fol­low­ing the storm. More than 1.2 mil­lion cus­tomers in Ge­or­gia and 220,000 in South Carolina had lost power. Ahead of Irma’s ar­rival, the U.S. South­east saw one of the largest evac­u­a­tions in Amer­i­can his­tory, in which nearly seven mil­lion peo­ple in the South­east were warned to seek shel­ter else­where, in­clud­ing 6.4 mil­lion in Florida alone. By the time Irma blows over, in­sured dam­ages in the United States could be anywhere from $15- to $50-bil­lion, or $20- to $65-bil­lion if the Caribbean dam­age is in­cluded, ac­cord­ing to one Sept. 9 es­ti­mate by AIR World­wide. Cana­di­ans in the U.S. who need help can con­tact the Wash­ing­ton em­bassy at 1-844880-6519. The Red Cross and UNICEF are col­lect­ing dona­tions for Irma re­lief. Cana­di­ans trapped by Irma on St. Maarten share har­row­ing sto­ries Cana­di­ans who are now back on home soil after get­ting trapped in the Caribbean last week by Hur­ri­cane Irma con­tinue to de­scribe a chaotic and fright­en­ing scene. One man who had been on the Dutch is­land of St. Maarten when the hur­ri­cane’s winds tore it apart told CTV Mon­treal that he spent days with lim­ited ac­cess to food, water or shel­ter, un­able to get on com­mer­cial flights out of the coun­try. The man said he only es­caped the is­lantic basin - 1980’s Allen - was stronger. It spent three con­sec­u­tive days as a top-of-the-scale Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane, the long­est in the satel­lite era. It gen­er­ated the sec­ond most Ac­cu­mu­lated Cy­clone En­ergy - a key mea­sure­ment that com­bines strength and du­ra­tion - in the satel­lite era.It was the strong­est storm to hit the Lee­ward Is­lands. It’s the first Cat­e­gory 5 hur­ri­cane to hit Cuba, which reg­u­larly gets as­saulted by hur­ri­canes, in nearly 100 years. Three mil­lion with­out power Hur­ri­cane Irma knocked out power to more than 3 mil­lion homes and busi­nesses in Florida on Sun­day, threat­en­ing mil­lions more as it crept up the state’s west coast, and full restora­tion of ser­vice could take weeks, Reuters re­ports. So far, the brunt of the storm has af­fected land after a U.S. mil­i­tary plane air­lifted him to Puerto Rico. “Thank God for the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary,” he said. “There was no­body there for Canada no­body there help­ing any Cana­di­ans.” The man said there was wide­spread loot­ing and the only food and water avail­able were ra­tions from the Dutch mil­i­tary. “You couldn’t even go to a gro­cery store to buy any­thing be­cause they were be­ing robbed top to bot­tom,” he said. “We should have our mil­i­tary to evac­u­ate peo­ple in sit­u­a­tions like this,” the man added. An­other woman who ar­rived at Mon­treal’s Trudeau air­port Tues­day after sev­eral fright­en­ing days on St. Maarten said she was dis­ap­pointed in the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse. The woman told CTV Mon­treal that she had been va­ca­tion­ing in a rented wa­ter­front home but moved to a ho­tel in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the hur­ri­cane. The storm ripped the ho­tel’s roof right off, so she went to the air­port but there were no flights avail­able for Cana­di­ans or any gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials to as­sist her. “Only Amer­i­cans and Dutch (were) leav­ing,” she said. “And Cana­di­ans, we had noth­ing.” That woman fi­nally got a West­Jet flight to Toronto on Mon­day. She said West­Jet pro­vided a ho­tel for her on Mon­day night be­fore she flew back to Mon­treal Tues­day. “Thank God for West­Jet,” she said. In to­tal, 301 pas­sen­gers ar­rived on West­Jet and Air Canada flights in Toronto on Mon­day from St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos, the two hard-hit is­lands where sev­eral hun­dred Cana­di­ans were stay­ing dur­ing the storm. In ad­di­tion to ex­press­ing re­lief to be­ing back Florida Power Light’s cus­tomers in the states’ south­ern and east­ern sec­tions, and its own op­er­a­tions were not im­mune, ei­ther. “We are not sub­ject to any spe­cial treat­ment from Hur­ri­cane Irma. We just ex­pe­ri­enced a power out­age at our com­mand cen­ter. We do have backup gen­er­a­tion,” FPL spokesman Rob Gould said on Sun­day. FPL, the big­gest power com­pany in Florida, said more than 2.9 mil­lion of its cus­tomers were with­out power by 7:40 p.m. in Canada, many of the pas­sen­gers who landed in Toronto Mon­day night of­fered sym­pa­thies to those who live on the is­lands af­fected by the storm. “It’s dec­i­mated the peo­ple there,” said pas­sen­ger Kyla Jor­gen­son. “My heart goes out to them be­cause they can’t get off (the is­lands).” Pas­sen­ger An­drew Trozzi said the or­deal was frus­trat­ing, but nowhere near as dif­fi­cult for him as it was for the lo­cals. “They have noth­ing now,” he said. Naail Falah, who was there to put the “fin­ish­ing touches” on a home he re­cently pur­chased in Turks and Caicos. “We were stuck,” he told CTV News Chan­nel. “It was a very painful sit­u­a­tion.” Falah said his new home sus­tained only mi­nor dam­age in the storm, but oth­ers were not so lucky. “We did not want to leave,” he said. “There were so many peo­ple that were in so much worse con­di­tion than we were.” For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land said Tues­day that 53 non-Cana­di­ans were also on the flights out of St. Maarten and Turks and Caicos on Mon­day. Those pas­sen­gers were ac­cepted be­cause there were still empty seats on the flights, and no Cana­di­ans were turned away as a re­sult, Free­land said. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment said an­other 390 pas­sen­gers were brought back to Canada over the weekend. (2030 GMT), mostly in Mi­ami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach coun­ties. More than 200,000 had elec­tric­ity re­stored, mostly by au­to­mated de­vices. Trump de­clares dis­as­ter in Florida

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has declared a ma­jor dis­as­ter in the state of Florida, mak­ing fed­eral aid avail­able to peo­ple af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Irma in nine coun­ties al­ready hit by the storm. The fed­eral help in­cludes tem­po­rary hous­ing and home re­pairs, low-cost loans for unin­sured prop­erty losses and other pro­grams to help in­di­vid­u­als and busi­ness own­ers re­cover in the coun­ties of Char­lotte, Col­lier, Hills­bor­ough, Lee, Mana­tee, Mi­ami-Dade, Mon­roe, Pinel­las, and Sara­sota. Fed­eral fund­ing also is avail­able to govern­ments and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions for emer­gen­cies in all 67 Florida coun­ties. For the first 30 days, that money will cover 100 per­cent of the costs of some emer­gency re­sponses.

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