Health Care

This is what Florida looks like as Irma hits

This is what Florida looks like as Irma hits”

More than 3.9 million homes and businesses have lost power in Florida, the major utilities said on Sunday, as Hurricane Irma pummeled the state.

Still, many Cubans expressed a sense of relief after the eye of the first Category 5 storm to make landfall on the island since 1932 passed over the northern keys, just grazing the mainland with its full force.

Maximum sustained winds stayed around 125 miles per hour (201 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. A tropical storm warning was issued for the first time ever in Atlanta, where many schools canceled classes because of the storm.

"This is going to sneak up on people", said Jamie Rhome, head of the hurricane center's storm surge unit.

Indian Ambassador to the US Navtej Sarna was closely monitoring the situation, officials said.

Irma, which has killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean, was considered a life-threatening danger to Florida as well and will likely inflict billions of dollars in damage in the third-most-populous US state.

- More than 1.35 million electric customers across 24 counties are without power, Florida Power and Light said Sunday morning.

Hurricane Irma remains a major hurricane, falling to a Category 3 level Saturday afternoon after interactions with the coast of Cuba.

At least one other possibly storm-related fatal auto crash was reported on Sunday in Orange County, Florida.

Florida's Department of Environmental Protection said it would be testing groundwater as soon as it's safe to do so after the storm. Even as its strength dwindles due to repeated landfalls, forecasts show heavy downpour affecting much of Florida until Friday.

The White House says Trump has spoken with the governors of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Storm surge and rainfall arriving at high tide Monday afternoon swamped communities along Georgia's 100-mile coast.

"I just spoke to Anaida, it is hard to believe she is getting ready to go through the same thing I just did", she said. Thousands of people in the Caribbean fought desperately to find shelter or escape their storm-blasted islands, and more than 6 million people in Florida and Georgia were warned to leave their homes.

"You can't do anything against nature", he said.

A Key Largo restaurant and bar called Snappers - where Weir had interviewed people on Thursday as the storm was still days away - is now "completely gone", Weir said.

Constantinidis said the preparations for Irma bring back memories of Hurricane Andrew, which devastated Florida 25 years ago.

A broad swath of the region will likely experience continuous tropical storm-force winds for several hours Monday.

The window for people in evacuation zones to flee was drawing to a close on Saturday, officials said, warning that gas stations would soon be without fuel and bridges would be closed in some areas. But Irma is so large that even if the eye is to the west, Southeast Florida - including the Miami metropolitan area - will get risky winds and water. And rebuilding all those homes could cost $80.6 billion, the report said.

As the storm approached, it sucked water out of Tampa Bay and other areas, prompting curious residents to head out onto the muddy ground - and, in at least one case, to rescue stranded manatees.



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