Irma ar­rives in Florida

Hurricane Irma pummels Florida

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY -

Mon­ster hurricane packs 130-mile-per-hour winds

A mon­ster Hurricane Irma roared into Florida with 130 mph winds Sun­day for what could be a sus­tained as­sault on nearly the en­tire Sun­shine State, flood­ing streets, knock­ing out power to more than two mil­lion homes and busi­nesses and snap­ping mas­sive con­struc­tion cranes over the Mi­ami sky­line.

The nearly 400-mile-wide storm blew ashore in the morn­ing in the mostly cleared-out Florida Keys and then be­gan a slow march up the state’s west coast. Fore­cast­ers said it could hit the heav­ily pop­u­lated Tampa-St. Peters­burg area by Mon­day morn­ing.

“Pray, pray for ev­ery­body in Florida,’’ Gov. Rick Scott said on “Fox News Sun­day’’ as some 116,000 peo­ple statewide waited it out in shel­ters.

Irma struck as a Cat­e­gory 4 but by midafter­noon had weak­ened to a Cat­e­gory 3 with still-fear­some 120 mph winds and heavy rain. A storm surge of more than 10 feet of wa­ter was recorded in part of the Keys, and sim­i­lar flood­ing was ex­pected on the main­land.

Many streets were un­der­wa­ter in down­town Mi­ami and other cities. Ap­pli­ances and fur­ni­ture were seen float­ing away in the low-ly­ing Keys, though the full ex­tent of Irma’s wrath there was not clear.

A Mi­ami woman who went into labour was guided through de­liv­ery by phone when au­thor­i­ties couldn’t reach her in high winds and street flood­ing. Fire­fight­ers later took her to the hos­pi­tal.

An ap­par­ent tor­nado spun off by Irma de­stroyed six mobile homes in Palm Bay, hun­dreds of miles away along the state’s At­lantic coast. Flood­ing was re­ported along In­ter­state 4, which cuts across Florida’s mid­sec­tion.

In down­town Mi­ami, two con­struc­tion cranes col­lapsed in the high winds. No in­juries were re­ported. City of­fi­cials said it would have taken about two weeks to move the cranes.

Cur­fews were im­posed in Mi­ami, Tampa, Fort Laud­erdale and much of the rest of South Florida, and some ar­rests of vi­o­la­tors were re­ported. Mi­ami Beach barred out­siders from the is­land.

There were no im­me­di­ate con­firmed re­ports of any deaths in Florida, on top of 24 peo­ple killed dur­ing the storm’s de­struc­tive trek across the Caribbean.

While the pro­jected track showed Irma rak­ing the state’s Gulf Coast, fore­cast­ers warned that the en­tire state — in­clud­ing the Mi­ami met­ro­pol­i­tan area of six mil­lion peo­ple — was in dan­ger be­cause of the sheer size of the storm.

Nearly seven mil­lion peo­ple in the South­east were warned to evac­u­ate, in­clud­ing 6.4 mil­lion in Florida alone.

About 30,000 peo­ple heeded or­ders to leave the Keys as the storm closed in, but an un­told num­ber re­fused, in part be­cause to many storm-hard­ened res­i­dents, stay­ing be­hind in the face of dan­ger is a point of pride.

John Hus­ton, who stayed in his Key Largo home, watched his yard flood even be­fore the ar­rival of high tide. “Small boats float­ing down the street next to fur­ni­ture and re­frig­er­a­tors. Very noisy,’’ he said by text mes­sage. “Shin­gles are com­ing off.’’

Irma made land­fall just af­ter 9 a.m. at Cud­joe Key, about 20 miles out­side Key West, fore­cast­ers said.

By mid-after­noon, it was ad­vanc­ing at about 12 mph to­ward Florida’s south­west­ern cor­ner, which in­cludes Naples, Fort My­ers and Sara­sota.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell An­a­lyt­ics said the en­tire Florida penin­sula will be


Palm Bay of­fi­cer Dustin Terkoski walks over de­bris from a two-storey home at Palm Point sub­di­vi­sion in Bre­vard County, Fla., af­ter a tor­nado touched down on Sun­day. Mon­ster hurricane Irma roared into Florida with 130 mph winds Sun­day.

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