Hurricane Irma makes landfall, leaves Florida in tattersLast updated on Sep 11, 2017, 10:35 am
Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys yesterday morning, marking its much-dreaded arrival to the US.
Irma has left 3.4 million houses without electricity. Heavy, roof-rattling rains have further left major cities including Miami flooded.
It is now moving northwards, approaching the densely populated Tampa-St. Petersburg area in Florida's western coast
Let's see what's happening on the ground.
Hurricane Irma as it happened in Florida
Irma made its first landfall at around 9 a.m. at the Cudjoe Keys.
Irma then headed towards Florida's south-west coast, making its second landfall in the Naples and Marco Island area, after which it was downgraded to a Category-2 storm.
It is now heading northwards and is likely to hit the Tampa-St-Petersburg area. Storm surges as high as 10-15 feet are expected.
How Florida prepared for Hurricane Irma
At least 6.3 million people, about 25% of Florida's total population were ordered to evacuate.
Ahead of Irma's arrival, around 50,000 people were estimated to be in shelters.
Curfews were imposed in Miami and Broward County to clear road-traffic, and flights were also suspended.
Tourists and residents at the Florida Keys, a low-lying island chain to the south, were also evacuated earlier.
Irma's trail of destruction
Barbuda, Antigua, Turks and Caicos Islands: Widespread damage to property and infrastructure.
St. Martin and St Barthelemy: Nine reported dead and seven missing in the French territories; two dead in the Dutch territory, Sint Maarten.
Barbuda and Anguilla: One person reported dead in each island.
Puerto Rico: Electricity infrastructure hit, one person dead.
Cuba: "Significant damage" reported; full extent remains unclear.
Damage reported in Florida
A total of three people, including two law enforcement officials, have died so far in vehicle crashes during the storm. Irma has reportedly caused major damage to electricity infrastructure and caused about 2-3 ft deep flooding in Miami city.
Florida ready with relief efforts
Immediate responses include measures such as removing debris from roads and preventing fuel shortages.
Florida has already kept the National Guard on standby. It has further kept 67 trailers of food, 850,000 gallons of water and 24,000 tarps ready.
The state has also requested the federal government for more supplies.
The widespread power outage is expected to pose challenges to relief operations.
Trump declares Hurricane Irma a 'major disaster'
President Trump has declared Irma a major disaster, making federal funds available to help rebuild Florida. The White House said, "The funding shall cover temporary housing and home repairs, loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recovery from the disaster."
Jose and Katia
No significant danger from Hurricanes Jose and Katia
Hurricane Jose, a Category-4 storm which initially threatened to follow in Irma's path has moved towards the north, sparing the already battered Caribbean islands, including Barbuda, St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy.
Hurricane Katia, a Category-1 storm has further fizzled out into a tropical depression after it made landfall in the state of Veracruz in Mexico.